After months of living in a bubble, and with the prospect of more to come, Jamie Murray admits he’s had enough of living the Covid half-life.
Now the British double star has called for full houses at Wimbledon and the euro to reward the huge segments of the population who have been stung.
An obviously frustrated Murray also launched a scathing critique of the reduced French Open double prize money, calling it a ‘s****y’ policy that sets a dangerous precedent.
More unusual, however, is a prominent British sports figure calling on the government this month to throw off the shackles and allow large crowds to attend major events.
Jamie Murray has spoken out about the Covid-19 restrictions on top sport this summer
The elder Murray sibling lives in Wimbledon itself and dreads the prospect of more weeks in a bubble that is even more prescriptive for those currently operating in Paris.
‘That will be difficult. I live five minutes from the (All England) Club. By then I will be fully vaccinated. Where is the reward for getting vaccinated? I don’t see it,” Murray said.
“But I also don’t see it for the country in a certain 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 being rewarded by being allowed to go to Wimbledon?
Murray thinks the vaccine rollout means people should now be able to go to Wimbledon
‘How many people are now fully vaccinated? Why can’t they all come to Wimbledon and have 100 percent fan capacity? Not just for Wimbledon, all summer events, concerts, the European Championship – let’s see Scotland v England with a full house.
“That’s what people desperately want to get back to, so I think they should be rewarded for following government guidelines to get vaccinated.”
Wimbledon remains hopeful that it will eventually be allowed to let in more than the now-targeted 10,000 fans per day. However, it has emphasized that they must abide by Whitehall’s directive which requires players to be locked up in a hotel in central London.
With a clearly coordinated campaign by some scientists to enforce the restrictions, the decision is still in balance.
“For me in particular, as for other British players living in south-west London, to have to go to a hotel in central London, in a country that will probably be at full capacity by then with relaxed restrictions.” and game on – that’s going to be really hard, I can’t lie about that. But those are the rules for apparently making the tournament happen, so we just have 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 Britons Dom Inglot and Luke Bambridge.
The 35-year-old Scot admitted that the recent form struggles had made restrictions even worse and that he is so fed up with the existence of a bubble that he may not travel to the Olympics.
“It’s been taking so long and it’s just frustrating,” he said. “You can’t get away from tennis because you play your game, go back to the hotel and stare at the walls and think about the game, because there’s nothing else to do.
“You can’t go out to dinner with your friends. You can’t fly home normally because it’s just hard to fly. It hasn’t been much fun lately, but of course it’s harder when you lose and don’t win, which I didn’t do. I think a lot of players are probably ready for a different environment.’
He’s not the only tennis player who believes the Olympics are more trouble than they’re worth.
Fans returned to Wembley in limited numbers for the play-off finals, but this could increase
‘Normally I’m home now for five or six weeks, but I have 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 United States for six weeks of tournaments. Will I ever be home? Let’s see what happens, but I wouldn’t say it’s top priority for me right now.”
He doesn’t feel like the doubles, who have seen their prize money shrink by 23%, are getting their share these two weeks.
‘I don’t think it’s right at all. I find it really s****y, to be honest. It’s the first time I think the Grand Slams have moved away from prize money sharing, setting a dangerous precedent for doubles.
“We are already coming to these tournaments and the ratio (prize money) is about 88-12, 89-11, 90-10. What else can we give up? Now I’m playing this tournament and I need to win five matches to reach a Grand Slam final against the best players in the world, to make the same as a man who comes and loses the first round of singles.
‘I’ll never think that’s right. I think the French Tennis Federation should know that’s not right.’
The French Open announced on Wednesday evening that two players from the same doubles pair had tested positive for Covid and had withdrawn from the tournament.
Although their identities were not entirely clear, the names of the men’s top leaguers Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic had disappeared from the draw on Wednesday night.