‘Why aren’t these people being rewarded by being able to go?’: Jamie Murray slams Covid-19 restrictions and calls for a FULL Wimbledon and Wembley Stadium with Euro 2020 to kickstart a bumper summer of sport
- Jamie Murray has spoken out on the Covid-19 restrictions surrounding elite sport
- The tennis star feels both Wimbledon and Wembley should be full this summer
- Murray lives by the All England club but needs to stay in a central London hotel
- He feels the regulations aren’t fair for a nation insistent on the vaccine roll out
- Find out the latest Euro 2020 news including fixtures, live action and results here.
After months living in a bubble, and with the prospect of more to come, Jamie Murray admits he has had enough of living the Covid half-life.
Now the British doubles star has called for full houses at Wimbledon and the Euros to reward the huge swathes of the population who have been getting jabbed.
A clearly frustrated Murray also launched another scathing critique of the reduced French Open doubles prize money, calling it a ‘s****y’ policy that sets a dangerous precedent.
More unusual, however, is a high profile UK sports figure calling for the government to throw off the shackles this month and allow bumper crowds into big events.
Jamie Murray has spoken out on the Covid-19 restrictions surrounding elite sport this summer
The older Murray sibling lives in Wimbledon itself, and is dreading the prospect of yet more weeks in a bubble even more proscriptive to the one currently operating in Paris.
‘That’s going to be hard. I live five minutes from the (All England) Club. I’ll be fully vaccinated by then. Where’s the payoff for getting vaccinated? I don’t see it,’ said Murray.
‘But I also don’t see it for the country in a way, because it’s like ‘You have to get vaccinated, you have to get vaccinated, the country needs you to do it’. So why aren’t these people rewarded by being allowed to go to Wimbledon?
Murray feels the vaccine roll out means people should now be able to flock to Wimbledon
‘How many people are fully vaccinated now? Why can’t they all come to Wimbledon and have 100 per cent fan capacity? Not just for Wimbledon, all the events in the summer, concerts, the Euros – let’s see Scotland against England with a full house.
‘That’s what people are desperate to get back to, so I feel like they should be rewarded for following the government’s guidelines of getting vaccinated.’
Wimbledon remains hopeful that it will, ultimately, be allowed to let in more than the presently envisaged 10,000 fans per day. It has stressed, however, they must heed Whitehall’s directive, which includes confining players to a central London hotel.
With a clearly co-ordinated campaign from some scientists to maintain restrictions underway, the decision is still in the balance.
‘For me particularly, as with other British players who live around southwest London, to have to go up and stay in a hotel in central London, in a country that by then is probably going to be full power with restrictions eased and game on – that’s going to be really difficult, I can’t lie about that. But that’s the rules in order to make the tournament happen apparently, so we’ve just got to suck it up.’
The tennis spectacle is one of Britain’s biggest tourist and sporting events on the calendar
Murray and partner Bruno Soares are in the second round of Roland Garros after beating Brits Dom Inglot and Luke Bambridge.
The 35 year-old Scot admitted that recent form struggles had made the restrictions feel worse, and that he is so fed up with the bubble existence he may well not travel to the Olympics.
‘It’s been going on so long now and it’s just frustrating,’ he said. ‘You can’t get away from the tennis because you play your match, go back to the hotel and sit there and stare at the walls and think about the match because there’s nothing else to do.
‘You can’t go for dinner with your friends. You can’t fly home normally because it’s just difficult to fly. It’s not been that much fun recently but it’s obviously harder if you lose and you’re not winning, which I haven’t been doing. I think a lot of players are probably ready for a change of scenery.’
He is not alone among tennis players in believing the Olympics is more trouble than it is worth.
Fans returned to Wembley in limited numbers for the playoff finals, but this could increase
‘I’m normally home now for five, six weeks but I have got to stay in a bubble again. And then I go to the Olympics for two weeks in a bubble, probably have no fans, and then I go straight to the States for six weeks of tournaments. Am I ever going to be at home? Let’s see what happens but I wouldn’t say the highest priority for me right now.’
He does not feel the doubles players, who have seen their prize money shrink by 23%, are getting their fair share this fortnight.
‘I don’t think it’s right at all. I think it’s really s****y, to be honest. It’s the first time I think that the Grand Slams have gone away from the distribution of prize money, which sets a dangerous precedent for the doubles game.
‘We’re already coming to these tournaments and the (prize money) ratio is like 88-12, 89-11, 90-10. What more can we give up? Now I’m playing this tournament and I’ve got to win five matches to get to a Grand Slam final playing against the best players in the world, in order to make the same as a guy who comes and loses first round of the singles.
‘I’ll never think that’s right. I think the French Tennis Federation need to know that that’s not right.’
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