Rafael Nadal says world number one Novak Djokovic will need to be vaccinated to keep playing if tennis’ governing bodies make coronavirus shots obligatory once they become available.
Nadal said week that Djokovic and all players will have to follow the rules when tennis eventually returns to action.
World number two 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 told the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia.
“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 authorised 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.