Russian tennis player Natalia Vikhlyantseva Vikhlyantseva has announced that she won't able to participate at the Australian Open because the Sputnik vaccine is not verified yet. Vikhlyantseva, a former world No. 54, is vaccinated but still she won't be able to compete at Melbourne Park in January.
Vikhlyantseva, now ranked at No. 194 in the world, would have to make it past the Australian Open qualifying in order to make the main draw. "Unfortunately, I will not participate in this year AO event. I’m really happy with a level of tennis I showed on a last few events and I wish to play in Flag of Australia but Sputnik is not verified yet.
Good luck for all participants and AO team, who always made amazing events!" Vikhlyantseva said in a Twitter post.
Vikhlyantseva has made three main draw appearances in Melbourne
Vikhlyantseva made the Australian Open second round in 2017 and 2019, while she picked up a first round exit at Melbourne Park in 2018.
Meanwhile, rising Australian star Olivia Gadecki will also miss the Australian Open but she won't play because she is refusing to take the vaccine. Australian tennis superstar and world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty is close to Gadecki but she didn't try to change her mind.
“I’ve spoken to her a little bit, but she’s an adult and she has her own career and she makes her own decisions,” Barty said, per The Courier Mail. “That’s something I’ve said to her a lot of the time.
For me, I’ve grown up and made my own decisions that I’m accountable for and she‘s done the exact same thing. “So I’m not in a position where I’m going to try and sway her or do anything, in a sense, to change her mind.
“I’m here as a friend, to support her and love her and whenever I see Liv, I try and catch up with her and we chat through everything, not just tennis."