Players should believe in science, says former World No. 1 Azarenka after Djokovic ‘circus’

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Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka voiced support for a vaccine mandate on tour in the wake of the ‘circus surrounding Novak Djokovic, saying players should ‘believe in science’.

“I believe in science. I believe in getting vaccinated. That is what I did for myself. I don’t want to push my beliefs onto everybody else, however, we are playing a global sport that are traveling around the world. As an entity, as an association of WTA, that is traveling globally, we still have to respect countries, different countries, different mandates, different legalities of the country. Some countries will not allow mandates, so I think to impose something legally on the WTA Tour can be a challenge. I think that’s something that we are facing,” Azarenka, who is a member of the WTA Player Council, said.

Asked if she would support a ‘no jab, no play’ policy on the tour in light of the saga involving the unvaccinated Djokovic, she said, “To make it as a mandate, there is much more to it. But if you ask me just for my opinion if that should be the case, I think it would just be helpful for everybody in the world, especially when we are traveling internationally.”

The Belarusian’s post-match press conference was dominated by the lingering scandal surrounding the deportation of the men’s world number one tennis player Djokovic from Australia.

“If you’re home and you don’t travel and you just remotely can safely do the measurements, the social distancing, all the precautions that are being introduced to us, I think that’s one thing. But in our case I think (the vaccine) is what has been recommended, and that’s what I believe is the right thing to do,” said Azarenka after registering a straight-sets victory over Switzerland’s Jil Teichmann on Wednesday.

Azarenka cited her own experience of Covid in November, saying that infections to her parents at the same time could have been far more severe had they not been vaccinated.

“For me, there is a social responsibility for other people who are much more vulnerable than us. I definitely look at it from that point,” argued the 32-year-old.

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