• Esperanthea Hutton tells media players cannot gain exemption in ‘extreme circumstances’ • ‘We’re just hoping they will get the [vaccination] medical advice,’ says Nole van der Vaart
Australian Open: Tennis Australia CEO says players must be vaccinated to play in grand slam
Australian Open organisers would be “extremely surprised” if the world’s top-ranked players refused to receive the men’s and women’s season-ending championships vaccination program amid an ongoing controversy over the health of women’s professional tennis.
The ATP has told its players the 2017 Australian Open men’s doubles and mixed doubles events will not be held at Melbourne Park unless they are immunised against two strains of the meningococcal bacteria.
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Last week, the organisation’s world rankings committee recommended athletes be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which is known to cause genital warts and cervical cancer, as well as other forms of cancer.
UEFA, Australian Open and grand slam governing bodies Tennis Australia and the All England Club have all backed the ATP’s recommended plans to vaccinate players. But a number of top-ranked men have been questioning the reasoning behind the scheme, among them Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Tennis Australia, the national governing body for the Australian Open, has already confirmed their players will be vaccinated in their local stadiums.
“However, we are just hoping they will get the advice, the medical advice and get their immunisations in order,” said Tennis Australia chief executive, Evonne Goolagong Cawley, and daughter of the world No1 in 1974.
Esperanthea Hutton, chief executive of Tennis Australia, said she believed every player would receive the men’s and women’s season-ending championships vaccine programme.
“Absolutely … and we’re just hoping that the players, as they are so proactively participating in the health and safety protocols, will provide for their players and take the advice,” she said.
Australia’s chief medical officer, Professor Brian Owler, said an Australian Open spokesman would explain the reasoning behind the vaccine program when he returned from Australia on Saturday.
• This article was amended on 3 January 2018 to correct the names of the promoters of the Australian Open and the All England Club.