Great Britain

Andy Murray calls for mandatory coronavirus vaccinations in tennis after Novak Djokovic was branded anti-vaxxer

ANDY MURRAY wants the coronavirus vaccine to be mandatory in tennis so the sport can return to normality.

The world No 1 later said his view, which received worldwide condemnation, had been taken out of context as he was referring to compulsory vaccinations.

It is hoped there will be jabs available from early 2021, which could mean an end to tournament bubbles, masks and social-distancing rules.

Asked whether tennis should insist on players taking a vaccine to be allowed to compete, Murray said: “Yeah, I think that probably should be the case.

“I’d hope all the players would be willing to do that for the good of the sport, providing everything has proved to be safe, clinical trials have been done and there aren’t any significant side-effects. I guess we’re not going to know the long-term effects potentially for a while.

“But from what I’ve been hearing on the TV and on the news, there shouldn’t be any.

“We’ll have to wait and see what the ATP and the ITF decide their position is.

“But I’m confident players would be into it if it meant the Tour going back to normality.”

Murray, who has not played since Cologne on October 13, has been practising at the National Tennis Centre and training in his home gym.

Apart from one unhappy readout on his body-fat  percentage equipment, Murray is in decent shape, both physically and mentally.

The Scot said: “I’m hoping by improving my strength and my power that will help me get a little bit faster on court. There’s no reason why with everything else I can’t get back to what it was before.

“That wasn’t the case probably in the last year, so I feel good.

“I’ve worked hard to get to this point but I can do  better. I could make sure I’m eating better.

“I can make sure I’m stronger in the gym. I guess with an extended off-season it’s going to allow me to do that.

“When it’s only four-five  weeks long, that can be tricky to make big gains in that time.

“But if it’s going to be potentially ten or 12 weeks, that’s the length of time a boxer would have to train for a big fight.

“You can get yourself in great shape in that time.”

Though his travel plans have not been firmed up yet, the Scot is set for Christmas at home with wife Kim and their three children and a  Melbourne return in the New Year.

Murray hopes the Australian Open is put back a few weeks from its current January 18 start date.

Otherwise he feels it will increase the risk of injuries, especially if players are flying from cold climates and then expected to play straightaway in 35-degree heat.

His two major ambitions for 2021 are a Wimbledon singles comeback after a four-year absence and an appearance  for Team GB at the delayed Tokyo Olympics.

Murray, 33, is eyeing a hat-trick of titles, having triumphed at the last two Olympics.

He said: “I’d love to compete in the Olympics again.

“To get another opportunity to do that would be huge for me.

“It would be in my top few priorities. If I’m fit and well, I’d be pumped to go and try and win another medal in Tokyo.”

 ANDY MURRAY wears AMC, a premium tennis clothing brand created and designed by Andy and Castore.

Andy Murray celebrates quietly after Scotland reached Euros because he was afraid of waking wife and kids

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