Djokovic will need vaccine if required by tour, says Nadal

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal play charity doubles at Roland Garros, Paris, May, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 08 May 2020

Djokovic will need vaccine if required by tour, says Nadal

  • Nadal said all players will have to comply if tennis officials require vaccination to travel and to protect everyone on tour
  • Djokovic recently said he was against taking a vaccine for the coronavirus even if it became mandatory to travel

MADRID: Rafael Nadal says Novak Djokovic will need to be vaccinated to keep playing if the governing bodies of tennis make coronavirus shots obligatory once they become available.
Nadal told the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia this week that Djokovic and all players will have to follow the rules when tennis eventually returns to action.
Nadal said no one can be forced to take the vaccine and everyone should be free to make their choices, but all players will have to comply if tennis officials require “vaccination to travel” and to “protect” everyone on the tour.
“Then Djokovic will have to be vaccinated if he wants to keep playing tennis at the top level,” Nadal said. “The same for me. Everyone will have to follow the rules, just like now we have to stay at home.”
Djokovic recently said he was against taking a vaccine for the coronavirus even if it became mandatory to travel. He later said he was open to changing his mind.
“If the ATP or the International Tennis Federation obligates us to take the vaccine to play tennis, then we will have to do it,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard compared it to the restrictions players already have on medicines because of doping controls.
“It’s about following the rules, nothing more than that,” he said.
There is still no vaccine available against the new coronavirus, which has killed more than 270,000 people around the world.
Djokovic on Monday broke confinement rules in Spain after a local club said it mistakenly allowed him to practice on one of its courts.
Tennis players are likely to be authorized to be back on courts in Spain beginning on Monday, May 11. Nadal said he returned to practice but did it on a private court.
Nadal recently said he was pessimistic about the return of tennis in 2020. He said that if given the option, he would scrap this season entirely so tennis could resume normally in 2021.
Djokovic won the Australian Open in early February, before sports were brought to a halt because of the virus. It was his 17th Grand Slam trophy overall. Only Roger Federer, with 20, and Nadal, with 19, have won more men’s Grand Slam singles trophies than Djokovic.
More than 30 sanctioned events have been scrapped since early March until at least mid-July. Wimbledon was canceled for the first time in 75 years, while the start of the French Open has been postponed from May until September.
The US Open is scheduled to begin in New York in late August, but organizers said they will decide in June if that tournament will be held at all.


Champions League ready to resume, at long last

Robert Lewandowski, left, and Bayern Munich during their Marseille friendly ahead of the Champions League last 16 2nd leg against Chelsea. (Files/AFP)
Updated 44 min 32 sec ago

Champions League ready to resume, at long last

  • UEFA ‘confident’ no more delays despite virus cases among players at Real Madrid and Sevilla

PARIS: After an enforced hiatus of almost five months, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume this week in order to clear up the last remaining business in a troubled season.

Both competitions were frozen in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold across the continent, and while European football’s governing body acted swiftly to move Euro 2020 back a year, for a long time it was unclear how it would manage to complete its two landmark club competitions.
In the end the solution was to set up two mini tournaments bringing all teams together in one place from the quarterfinals onwards, with all ties being decided in one-off matches behind closed doors.
And so the Champions League will move to Lisbon for the “Final Eight” starting on Aug. 12 and ending with the final at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz on Aug. 23.
The Europa League, meanwhile, will be played to a conclusion at a series of venues in western Germany, with the last eight beginning on Aug. 10 and the final in Cologne on Aug. 21.
“I believed it from the first moment,” said the UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin recently when asked if he ever doubted it would be possible to play the tournaments to a conclusion. “You should always be optimistic, and if something like this crisis happens, you must have a plan ready. “At the present time, we will be playing matches without spectators until further notice. We will not take any risks.”
There is, though, no question of further changes being made to the formats despite concerns about an increase in Covid-19 cases in and around Lisbon, and more recent worries in Germany about a rise in cases there.
UEFA also recently insisted it was “confident” there would be no more delays despite cases of coronavirus emerging among players at Real Madrid and Sevilla. It is, in any case, now or never.
Indeed, the preliminary round of next season’s Champions League begins next Saturday, the same day Bayern Munich entertain Chelsea and Napoli visit Barcelona in their outstanding last 16 second legs.
Before that, Manchester City defend a 2-1 first-leg lead at home against Real on Friday as Pep Guardiola’s side target Champions League glory on the back of the club’s success at getting a two-year ban from the competition overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The winner of that tie will face Juventus or Lyon in the quarterfinals in Lisbon.
It is the Europa League which is first up, though, with the last 16 being completed on Wednesday and Thursday.
Two ties — Inter Milan against Getafe and Sevilla against Roma — will go ahead as one-off ties in Germany as the first legs were never played.
Six second legs will also be played with the winners heading to Germany for the last eight.
Among the ties to be completed is Manchester United’s against Austrian side LASK, which will be a formality for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team after they won 5-0 in the first leg in March.
Their form since the Premier League resumed in mid-June has been excellent and they have already sealed a place in the 2020-21 Champions League, but now they want to finish this never-ending season with a trophy.
“Now our focus is on the Europa League because this is a really good trophy and we want to win,” Bruno Fernandes told MUTV.
“I came to Manchester to win trophies. We need to play every game to win. If we go into the Europa League and win every game, we know we’ll win the trophy.”
United, Europa League winners in 2017, could yet find themselves facing Premier League rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the semifinals in Cologne on Aug. 16 should both teams get there.
Wolves entertain Greek champions Olympiakos on Thursday having drawn 1-1 in the first leg of their last-16 tie.
Their campaign started more than a year ago now, with a 2-0 win over Northern Irish side Crusaders in the second qualifying round on July 25, 2019.
Extending it by another couple of weeks would do them no harm.