FJoshua Kimmich’s statements would not have been needed for heated debates about the corona vaccination in sports. With the pressure from wage losses like in US leagues, with clear disadvantages for those who have not been vaccinated and the risk of missing out on opportunities for triumphs, there are enough topics.
The consequences that can result from the vaccination status are different. Sometimes the vaccination seems to be a must for athletic success, like for the Winter Games in Beijing 2022 or the Australian Open.
Much remains unclear
The discussion in tennis is particularly heated. Such clarity as now with national player Kimmich, who admitted on Saturday that he has not yet been vaccinated against Corona, would be what some would wish for top star Novak Djokovic. The world number one, who recovered from a corona disease last year, does not want to reveal his vaccination status and is puzzling: Is he really unvaccinated or has he been vaccinated for a long time? “It’s a private matter,” the 34-year-old Serb said in an interview. The question about it is inappropriate.
It is not uncommon for you not to find out anything about the unvaccinated. This is also the case, for example, in Formula 1 or with clubs in the Bundesliga. Kimmich only spoke after a media report.
In tennis, this question comes more and more into focus as the year progresses, as the journey to the Australian Open gets closer. It is questionable whether Djokovic can defend his title without Corona spades. Whether unvaccinated people are allowed to participate in the Grand Slam tournament, which begins on January 17th, is possible, but has not yet been officially decided. The conditions would be strict: a strict two-week hotel quarantine would be a huge disadvantage.
“I do not have the problem,” confirmed Olympic champion Alexander Zverev and let his vaccinated status through. The secrecy about Djokovic may not end until after the flight to Australia. When he flies. His participation is open.
Political pressure is growing
Meanwhile, Austria’s Minister of Health Wolfgang Mückstein also called on tennis star and compatriot Dominic Thiem on Wednesday to be vaccinated against the corona virus. “Even with younger people and athletes there is Long-Covid and we also have almost 30-year-olds in the intensive care unit, it is not like that,” said the minister, according to a preliminary report by the broadcaster on the news channel Puls24. Thiem had declared a good two weeks ago that he had not yet been vaccinated and actually wanted to wait for a so-called dead vaccine (Novavax). However, if this is not available in time for the Australian Open in January 2022, he will want to be vaccinated with a different vaccine, the 28-year-old said at the time.
The dead vaccine will not be available until 2022 at the earliest, “and there is no indication that it has any advantages over the current vaccines,” said Mückstein. The vaccines currently available are all safe and have already been vaccinated billions of times. “I can only ask Dominic Thiem to be vaccinated,” said Mückstein in the direction of ninth in the tennis world rankings.
The vaccination campaign is stalling in Austria – and Thiem is very popular in the country. In contrast to vector vaccines such as those from Biontech / Pfizer, inactivated vaccines are based on a technology that has been in use for decades.
Vaccination as a private decision
Zverev, on the other hand, considers vaccination a private issue. Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel also said: “Well, who am I that I can judge that?” He said: “I mean, I got vaccinated. Obviously I travel a lot. ”Everyone has to decide for themselves, it affects their own body. “But I also think that in some cases it is not just a decision that you have to make for yourself, but also for other people, and out of solidarity you should perhaps get vaccinated.”
In Formula 1, the Kingdom of Bahrain had offered the full vaccination, and in tennis there were also opportunities at competition sites.
The risk of missed opportunities
If a Formula 1 racing driver fails, this will affect the World Championship ranking and could cost his team millions in income. At Djokovic, tennis history is at stake in addition to the prize money. Actually, he wants to overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with Grand Slam title 21. The pressure to get vaccinated is high. Just like for the Olympic participants.
Because for the winter games in Beijing, which are to open on February 4, the rules for unvaccinated people provide for a three-week quarantine after arrival. As in tennis, the immediate preparation for the competitions would be severely disturbed.
The different vaccination rates
A large part of the German Olympians are already fully vaccinated, said the executive board of competitive sports of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, Dirk Schimmelpfennig. In tennis, the rate is (still) low. Top players like last year’s US Open winner Dominic Thiem from Austria have announced that they will be vaccinated. In total, around a third of the men on the ATP tour and around 40 percent of the women on the WTA tour have not been vaccinated.
Things went much better in other sports. In the Bundesliga, Kimmich is of course not the only unvaccinated professional, but with a quota of more than 90 percent among players and coaches in the 1st and 2nd league, he is an exception. The CSU politician Horst Seehofer has appealed to Kimmich to give up his concerns and to act as a role model. “Think about it again and get vaccinated!” Said the acting Federal Minister of the Interior on Wednesday on the TV broadcaster BILD. “You are a person with a role model. And if you get vaccinated, other people will say, I’ll do it too, ”argued Seehofer. Vaccination is the main weapon in the fight against the corona pandemic, said the minister, who is fully vaccinated himself.
In the basketball league, for example, compared to the football league, only one player was known before the start of the season who did not have 2G status (99 percent). In the German Ice Hockey League, the share increased to 93 percent. With many positive cases and game cancellations, there were massive problems.
The view of US sports
Regardless of the league, it’s about team success and avoiding competitive disadvantages. “The big goal is to win the title. And that starts with health as number one, “said NBA superstar LeBron James, who says he was skeptical, but opted for protection. He is happy “that we have given each other the opportunity to be available for one another”.
In the NHL, only four of the more than 700 ice hockey players were recently considered not to be vaccinated. Unvaccinated people cannot easily commute between Canada and the USA, but have to be quarantined for 14 days after entering Canada.
Strict rules lead to a high vaccination rate. Anyone who misses a game in the NBA and NHL because they haven’t been vaccinated won’t get a salary. According to the media, 95 percent of the professionals in the NBA are vaccinated. A prominent exception is Kyrie Irving. Because the Brooklyn Nets train in New York and play their home games, the local rules also apply – and they require Irving to have a vaccination if he wants to be in a sports hall. As long as he is not completely available to his team, the Nets do without him. According to the US media, he missed $ 380,000 per home game.
In tennis, the first-round participants of the US Open got $ 75,000 – it will be similar at the Australian Open. “It would be great if more players were vaccinated,” said former number one Andy Murray recently: “It’s the decision of the players.”