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19 Dec, 2021 15:09

Murray speaks on Djokovic vaccine status ahead of Australian Open

Murray speaks on Djokovic vaccine status ahead of Australian Open

Andy Murray has spoken on the vaccination status of rival Novak Djokovic ahead of the Serb's possible absence from the Australian Open.

Murray is attempting to mount his latest comeback in the sport after multiple surgeries and hip problems.

On Saturday, he was beaten in the final of the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi by Andrey Rublev, with the Russian world number five claiming a 6-4 7-6 (7-2) victory.

Next up for three-time Grand Slam champion Murray is a trip to Australia, where the Scot will hope for a wildcard entry in Melbourne, where the action gets under way on January 17.

Reaching the final five times from 2010 to 2016 and suffering heartbreak on each occasion, the 34-year-old is no stranger to the tournament.

Four of those losses were to world number one Djokovic, but with a ban on unvaccinated players competing it seems the Serb, who refuses to reveal his vaccination status, could be unable to defend his crown Down Under – although recent reports have focused on whether he apply for a possible medical exemption.

During a wide-ranging interview with Eurosport, Murray was probed on whether he'd be surprised if the Serb misses out on 2022's first major tournament because of his stance on vaccines.

"Yes I would be surprised by that because I believe the vaccine is to be safe," Murray stated.

"I know some people are now saying they're not effective because they're now having to get more vaccines to help against the new strains and everything but that's I think with a lot of illnesses and diseases.

"Like the flu for example, we're offered flu jabs every year, and they’re tweaked slightly, just to try to reduce the risk. I believe them to be safe and effective, so yeah, I'd be surprised if he didn't go for that reason.

"But also, I guess it's getting very close now and we don't really know exactly what's happening, but you'd assume that he’s potentially been reluctant to do it," Murray began to backtrack.

"So I guess if I heard tomorrow he wasn’t going, would I be surprised? No, I don’t think so."

Previously at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Murray had said he didn't know "what the situation is with Novak" as per getting jabbed.

"The latest I saw was that he was on the entry list, and I assume he’s playing and has been vaccinated," the Scot suggested.

"But we were told they were the rules – if you want to play, you have to be vaccinated – so I’m assuming that’s what’s happened."

Generational rivals of the same age who have faced each other in 19 finals in total, Murray and Djokovic are also friends who featured in doubles matches together as youngsters. 

Perhaps because of this, Murray wished that 'Nole' makes it to Melbourne as "ultimately, you want all of the best players to be playing in the biggest events."

"It’s what makes the events more interesting and he’s also going to try to win and break the record, winning a 21st Slam.

"His record there is phenomenal, so hopefully he’ll be there," Murray finished.