‘Please get your vaccine’: British tennis legend Murray hails ‘that first jab feeling’ as critics ask if he was paid for ‘advert’
Andy Murray, who has previously called for compulsory vaccinations for tennis players, has grinned while showing off his freshly-jabbed arm and linked his work as an ambassador for children's charity UNICEF to Covid-19 vaccines.
Sitting in a car clutching his card showing that he had been vaccinated, former world number one Murray proudly revealed he had "that first jab feeling" as he rolled up his sleeve to show off a plaster on his arm.
In one of the most high-profile endorsements of Covid-19 vaccines among male tennis stars to date, the former Wimbledon and US Open winner also urged his millions of social media fans to follow his lead in a post so emphatic that it led some to ask what had driven him to do it.
"Very grateful to have joined the millions of people who have received their Covid-19 vaccine," the former challenger to the likes of current rankings leaders Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer declared.Also on rt.com Novak Djokovic says ‘liberty and freedom of choice’ must come first as he discusses Covid vaccine
"Huge thanks to all the scientists and key workers that have helped navigate us through the last 18 months."
The 34-year-old then referenced his role as a figurehead for the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), adding that VaccinAid – the organization's appeal aimed at vaccinating the world – is vital.
"As an ambassador, I know how much donating to a cause such as [this] can save lives," he said. "So please get your vaccine when it's offered to you and then donate if you can."
Nadal has been outspoken on what he perceives as the importance of vaccines, while Djokovic has courted controversy for saying that he hopes the treatment does not become compulsory and was pilloried for holding a tournament at the height of the pandemic last year that resulted in a string of positive tests.
Vaccines have received a mixed response elsewhere in the tennis world, with Naomi Osaka confirming she would receive one as soon as she was able to and Russian contender Andrey Rublev voicing his preference not to.
Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens replied with a conclusive "yes, mate" to Murray's post, but there was a less convinced reaction from other readers.Also on rt.com ‘Vaccinated queen’: Tennis ace Bouchard says jabs will ‘get us back to real life’, likens treatment to a Willy Wonka golden ticket
"Seriously, why do you feel you need this?" asked one. "You must be so fit that your immune system could fight off such a virus."
Another claimed that Murray could have become the latest high-profile sportsman to be coerced into a campaign aimed at winning over members of the public who are quizzical about being treated, replying: "How much are they paying you for this vaccine post?"
"Hashtag ad," jibed a skeptic, posting in between a barrage of fans hoping to see Murray at his home tournament of Wimbledon this summer.Also on rt.com Tennis icon claims bosses have ‘skirted side effects’ of ‘experimental vaccine’ and FIFA or the IOC could have ‘manipulated virus’
Murray was ruled out of the Australian Open at the start of the year after contracting Covid-19.
“It would be very odd playing at Wimbledon without [crowds]," he said, when he was asked about the prospect of this year's tournament going ahead under severe restrictions.
"Not just being able to see your family and stuff, but not having them there to support in the matches as well.
“That’s the times we’re living in. Hopefully, if we keep going with the vaccinations, there’ll be a possibility for potentially family members and friends that have been vaccinated to come in and get tickets and come to support. If not, that’s what it will have to be this year.”Also on rt.com WTA ‘encourages’ players to get Covid-19 vaccine amid concern from some stars over rollout