Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal believes Novak Djokovic will need to follow the guidelines to get vaccinated to keep playing at the highest level. Nadal feels the world number on Djokovic will have to take the Coronavirus shots if the governing bodies of tennis make them obligatory once they become available. At the same time, the 19-time Grand Slam champion said no one can be forced to take the vaccine and everyone should be free to make their choices, but all players will have to comply if tennis officials require ‘vaccination to travel’ and to protect everyone on the tour. Also Read - Coronavirus: Cases in Pakistan Rise Above 69,470; Death Toll Nears 1,500-mark
In a chat with Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia this week, Nadal said that Djokovic and all players will have to follow the rules when tennis eventually returns to action. Recently, Djokovic expressed his anti-vaxxer views for the coronavirus even if it became mandatory to travel. However, the Serb later said he was open to changing his mind. Also Read - Bangladesh Reopens Offices, Transport Services Amid Spike in Coronavirus Cases
“Then Djokovic will have to be vaccinated if he wants to keep playing tennis at the top level,” Nadal said. “The same for me. Everyone will have to follow the rules, just like now we have to stay at home.” Also Read - Amid Sharp GDP Data Revision, Debate Continues Over Its Fairness
“If the ATP or the International Tennis Federation obligates us to take the vaccine to play tennis, then we will have to do it,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard compared it to the restrictions players already have on medicines because of doping controls.
“It’s about following the rules, nothing more than that,” he said.
There is still no vaccine available against the deadly virus, which has killed more than 270,000 people around the world and infected more than four million.
Djokovic on Monday broke confinement rules in Spain after a local club said it mistakenly allowed him to practice on one of its courts.
Nadal recently said he was pessimistic about the return of tennis in 2020. He said that if given the option, he would scrap this season entirely so tennis could resume normally in 2021.
ATP and WTA have suspended the events till July keeping in mind the spread of the deadly virus. Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time in 75 years, while the start of the French Open has been postponed from May until September.
The U.S. Open is scheduled to begin in New York in late August, but organizers said they will decide in June if that tournament will be held at all.