ATP Tour

Austrian government minister advises Thiem to get vaccinated

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Dominic Thiem celebrates at the ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena in London on 15 November 2020. (Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem celebrates at the ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 Arena in London on 15 November 2020. (Getty Images)

Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem was Thursday advised by Austria's health minister to get jabbed against Covid-19 as controversy over who hasn't been vaccinated continued to occupy the sport ahead of the 2022 Australian Open.

Thiem, 28, and ranked nine in the world, said earlier this month that he was waiting for a vaccine from American pharmaceutical company Novavax, that uses an 'inactivated' protein-based formula.

He did, however, insist that he would opt for one of the vaccines already approved if he had no other choice.

"I can only ask Dominic Thiem to get vaccinated," health minister Wolfgang Muckstein, a practising doctor, told Austrian media.

"The inactivated vaccines may not be available until 2022, and there is no indication that they have any advantages over current vaccines."

He also warned of the risk of "long Covid", including for young people and athletes, with symptoms of fatigue, decreased concentration, body pain and respiratory problems.

"We also have patients barely 30 years old in intensive care," he added as Austria faces a sharp rise in contamination.

The minister said he had written to Thiem to offer him a meeting "in order to remove his uncertainties".

The issue of vaccination is at the heart of discussions in world tennis in the run-up to the next Australian Open in Melbourne from January 17-30.

Officials said unvaccinated players will not get special dispensation for the event, potentially ruling out reigning men's champion Novak Djokovic.

Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic is one of many players who have refused to share their vaccination status, casting doubt over whether he will defend his title.

 

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