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Elite sports have, in many respects, gotten off relatively lightly with all the chaos the pandemic has caused over the past eight months.
Yeah, grassroots sports have had a big blow, and if they do at all, it might take years to recover.
But they’ve managed to keep it going for many elite sports, particularly those with a lot of financial strength, maybe not quite as normal, but quite satisfactorily given the conditions.
Tennis is one of those sports where, in a very short time, the top players returned to action, with something of a regular season at the end of the year, particularly for men.
With the pandemic still in full swing, though, there is a lot of debate about how to move forward with top-level sports, as many fear that interest and cash would plunge without competition for a long period of time.
For this reason, Andy Murray proposed that, if one is available, COVID vaccination should be mandatory for tennis players.
I think that should probably be the case [that a mandatory vaccination policy should be in place],”I think that should probably be the case [that there should be a mandatory vaccination program],” “I would hope that all players would be willing to do that for the good of the sport – provided it’s all proven safe, clinical trials and all have been done, and there are no significant side effects.”
“Personally, I’m against vaccination, and I don’t want to be forced by anyone to take a vaccine to be able to travel.”I’m personally against vaccination, and I don’t want anyone to compel me to take a vaccine to be able to travel.
Djokovic changed his tone a few months later, saying he was not against vaccines, merely against the thought of being forced to take a vaccine.
Certainly, the concept of compulsory vaccines is generally considered less than desirable in the general population.
But it is not fair to impose such conditions on athletes within professional sports, which possess various advantages that “regular people” do not.
Over many of the more conventional Olympic sports, tennis has a distinct advantage in that the top tier of the sport is bursting with capital. This has been shown in the staging of the US Open and French Open, as well as the ATP Finals, both of which, while having no or rather small spectators, were held at great cost.
Murray is often worth listening to, and without thought until he opens his mouth, he seldom gives an opinion.
Asking each athlete to be vaccinated against something is, of course, not a perfect solution. But if they want to help their sport survive these tumultuous times, athletes would almost undoubtedly have to make some sacrifices.
Tennis players will, of course, be given the option of denying vaccination. But the result would be that, as the pandemic rages on, they would disqualify themselves from participating in the tour.
Very certainly, at all costs, compulsory vaccination would be avoided. But I would take it if I were an athlete with the chance to save my sport.
And more than one thing…
As the days and weeks of former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor Richard Freeman’s medical tribunal continue to pass, the tale is getting messier.
The tribunal heard claims last week that former Team Sky head coach Shane Sutton, who also worked for British Cycling, told lies about his knowledge of doping in the sport, or lack thereof.
Czech rider Kvetoslav Palov claimed that he was given £10,000 worth of performance-enhancing drugs to help him succeed in the Tour de France while he was on the same team as Sutton in 1987.
This contradicts the earlier statements of Sutton to Parliament that he had “no knowledge” of doping in the sport.
At this hearing, Freeman may be front and center, but plenty of dirt is being stirred up elsewhere.
Tony Cooke, the father of former British Olympic champion Nicole, said he had given evidence to the UK Anti-Doping Agency that Sutton had taken doping drugs prior to the allegations against Sutton.
He then said that UKAD failed to act on that information sufficiently.
A verdict on Freeman will end this tribunal, but the damage done to a number of other parties, especially British Cycling, Team Sky and UKAD, is substantial.
Here, it is difficult to know the whole story – there are far too many parts that need to be placed together to ensure that at least minor holes do not exist. From From