Stefanos Tsitsipas: Greek government rejects comments on tennis star’s vaccine

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“He does not have the knowledge and the studies to assess the need for vaccinations,” government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said, quoted in Greek press articles.

“Stefanos Tsitsipas is a great athlete, his athletic skills and contribution to sport in the country are unmistakable.

“What is at stake, however, is his ability to assess the need for vaccinations or whether the vaccine has been tested for a sufficient period of time. And … he has neither the knowledge nor the studies nor the research that would allow him to form an opinion on this subject.

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The 23-year-old world No.3 from Greece caused a stir at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati this week when he told reporters he was worried about the side effects of the vaccine.

“I’m not against vaccines, but I don’t see any reason for someone my age to do it – it hasn’t been tested enough and it has side effects – until it’s mandatory, everyone can decide for themselves, “he told Greek press at the tournament on Wednesday.

Oikonomou urged people to listen to health policy experts instead, and said Tsitsipas and other celebrities should be careful about what they say given their huge platforms.

“Those who, thanks to their excellent performance in other places, are also a point of reference for wider social groups, it would be good to be doubly careful in expressing such opinions,” he said.

The Covid-19 vaccine has divided opinions within tennis.

World number one Novak Djokovic said in April that he hoped the Covid-19 vaccine would not become mandatory for players to compete and declined to answer questions about his own vaccine status.

However, Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, 20 times Grand Slam winners, believe that athletes must play their part to regain some form of normalcy.

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