Professional tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas sitting behind a table at Wimbledon and answering questions about why he won’t take the COVID-19 vaccine

Here’s a frustrating fact, courtesy of The New York Times: As the US Open main draw begins today at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, “adults in the stands [are] about twice as likely to be vaccinated as players on the pitch.

While spectators aged 12 and over must demonstrate proof of a COVID vaccine to attend the tournament, there is no such mandate for athletes who actually participate. Neither the ATP nor the WTA require players to be vaccinated, and each organization recently estimated that vaccination rates were “around 50%”. Some prominent players – like Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Johanna Konta – have even spoken out against the vaccine, helping to spread misinformation surrounding its effectiveness.

This is a bit surprising, given the international nature of professional tennis. America is the country most hesitant to vaccinate in the world; you would expect a national league to have lower rates than professional tennis. But the NHL, NBA, and NFL are currently all over 85% vaccinated.

The disparity is mainly due to the fact that these leagues have centralized superstructures that enforce the rules and impose fines, as well as player unions to hold hands with athletes and educate them on the benefits of receiving the shots.

And without even going into the medical and moral reasons for taking the vaccine, keep in mind that vaccination means an easier workday for professional athletes. It’s the difference between using the locker room hot tub and having a cotton swab in your nose every morning. Not to mention, for second or third string players who are fighting to make the team, getting caught up in a COVID epidemic, anything but guarantees they won’t see the land.

That said, it is more difficult for individual sports to institute league-wide vaccination campaigns, as their players are essentially independent contractors. (The PGA also has a lower vaccination rate than the aforementioned team leagues, at just over 70%.) When an athlete who is only answerable for himself, his coach and family decide he won’t not want to shoot, there isn’t exactly hell to pay. All ATP can do (or is willing to do for now) is issue statements like this:

“While we respect everyone’s right to free choice, we also believe that every player has a role to play in helping the group as a whole achieve a safe level of immunity. This will allow us to relax restrictions on site for the benefit of everyone on the tour. “

For tennis players who have doing their part, the trend is deeply worrying. Speaking ahead of the US Open, Andy Murray said, “Much of the tour is unvaccinated. I can see this is going to become a problem over the next few months… Ultimately, I guess the reason we all get vaccinated is to be careful of the general public. We have a responsibility as players who travel the world, yes, to look after everyone as well. I am happy to be vaccinated. Hopefully more players will choose to have it in the coming months.

Unfortunately – as we have searched in the past – too many Murray peers don’t see the vaccine as a public service. They see it as a “personal decision”. This phrase has been repeated over and over again by athletes hesitant to vaccinate, who claim to be wary of the unknown impacts the COVID vaccine could have on their bodies. Citing their youth and fitness, they seem okay with flirting with the known dangers of COVID, which has claimed the lives of more than 636,000 Americans to date, and manifests long-term health complications for thousands more.

Murray’s point about travel shouldn’t go unnoticed either. Consider that the entire Australian continent has been closed for over a year and a half. Almost the only people who were able to visit the country? Tennis players. Traveling is a privilege during a pandemic. The same goes for hitting a ball back and forth (no matter how good you are at it). Hoping more stars will follow in Murray’s footsteps, doing the bare minimum to take care of their regular man – and their millions of fans.

More like that

thanks for reading Internal hook. Register now for our daily newsletter and stay up to date.

The post office The least vaccinated Pro Sports League? Surprisingly, it is tennis. appeared first on Internal hook.

The article The least vaccinated Pro Sports League? Surprisingly, it is tennis. through Tanner Garrity was originally published on Internal hook.