Azarenka skips Stuttgart event to get COVID-19 vaccine


FILE PHOTO: Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hits a backhand against Ashleigh Barty of Australia (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka said she has pulled out of next week's WTA 500 event in Stuttgart as it coincides with her scheduled COVID-19 vaccination.

"I will unfortunately not be able to compete in Stuttgart ... next week as I will be receiving my first dosis (sic) of the vaccine at the same time," the Belarusian world No. 15 said on Twitter.

While both the ATP and WTA Tours have encouraged athletes to accept vaccine shots when available some of the top players expressed a reluctance to get vaccinated at the recent Miami Open.

Under updated COVID-19 protocols on the men's tour, players who have been vaccinated are no longer considered as close contacts of anyone testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford)

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