Brisbane — The CEO of Australian Tennis was unapologetic about a controversial statement that players would have to be vaccinated to play the Australian Open. John Fitzgerald made the comment in comments to News.com.au on Thursday.
“I’m not convinced that we’ve got enough childhood polio vaccine in Australia to make sure that — if there is one player or two players that come up who want to play — that they are vaccinated. I don’t know what they’ve been inoculated against,” he said.
“This is a big medical time-bomb in terms of really locking out some players,” he added. “We should be concerned about that and we should address that.”
While Fitzgerald didn’t endorse nor deny the idea of being vaccinated, he said he believed that players would find it difficult to get a H7N9 vaccine. “I don’t think they will be. Because that particular vaccine you have to be on a supervised medical study, you have to have proven your immunity for three months of flu. I don’t think they will be vaccinated, I’m not sure,” he said.
The Australian Open is one of only two Grand Slam events in the world where the draws do not take into account “unknown” or “emerging” players, and, therefore, Fitzgerald said, to have an “emerging” player doing well at the Aussie Open could leave some injured players in the lurch.
Fitzgerald faced criticism over his comments, with one player saying that he should be “ashamed of himself”.
This post has been updated to clarify Fitzgerald’s comments.
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