WTA urges players to get COVID-19 vaccine

Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Elina Svitolina of Ukraine serves against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - After players at the Miami Open expressed a reluctance to get the COVID-19 vaccine the women's tennis governing body the WTA said on Tuesday it would educate athletes and encourage them to get the shot.

After fourth round wins on Monday, Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka had aired concerns about how quickly the vaccines had been rolled out and said they would wait before deciding whether to get one.

Svitolina added that getting the vaccine made no sense since either way players would be required to quarantine.

The WTA has said it will not require players to get a vaccine but wanted to make the benefits of getting a shot clear to everyone.

"The WTA believes in and will encourage everyone to get a vaccine," said the WTA in a statement.

"This will assist in protecting the individual that has received the vaccine, those who have not been vaccinated, and allow our world to move back to a place of normalcy that is desired by all.

"The WTA, with the full assistance of our medical advisors from the Mayo Clinic, have been and will continue to educate our players on the various vaccines along with the benefits of getting vaccinated.

"This being said, the WTA will not be requiring players to get a vaccine as this is a personal decision, and one which we respect."

The WTA's position falls in line with many states and countries that are pushing to get people vaccinated as worries over variants and a new wave of COVID-19 grow.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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