• AFP-Jiji

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Three of this year’s Australian Open women’s doubles finalists said Saturday they were ready to follow the country’s rules for COVID-19 vaccination to be able to play the tournament next year.

The state of Victoria — where the Grand Slam is hosted — said this week that it would prevent unvaccinated players from entering its territory, sparking concerns that some players including Novak Djokovic may miss the tournament.

“I am vaccinated … it definitely helps because we travel a lot and we come into contact with lots of people,” said Australian Open doubles champion Elise Mertens.

“There’s more players and staff and coaches who are getting vaccinated,” added the Belgian, who won the doubles competition with Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.

“It definitely helps to not be a close contact and not be in quarantine for too long because it definitely breaks the rhythm.”

Beaten in the 2021 doubles final, Czech Katerina Siniakova said she was not particularly happy with the requirement.

“We all saw it coming. Unfortunately the situation does not give us a choice,” Siniakova told reporters in Prague ahead of the Billie Jean King Cup finals starting on Monday.

“I wasn’t too excited about the rule, but I want to play tennis so there’s nothing I can do.”

“I think there’s more to come because Australia won’t go soft,” said Siniakova, who is vaccinated just like her doubles partner Barbora Krejcikova.

Krejcikova, who won the French Open singles and then doubles with Siniakova this year, agreed she would comply as “we want to play and be in Australia”.

“We have to, health is the priority,” Krejcikova said.

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