Italian police have opened a criminal investigation that is alleged to involve Italian WTA player Camila Giorgi, a former top 30, and current top 70 ranked player. Giorgi has won three WTA titles in her career, including the 2021 Canadian Masters. Giorgi, age 30, is alleged to have obtained falsified COVID-19 vaccine records that would have allowed her to participate in WTA and Grand Slam tournaments as a fully vaccinated player (allowing tournament entry, and less restrictions on training, travel etc. in certain countries and at certain tournaments), without actually having received the COVID-19 vaccine. This matter is being handled as a criminal investigation as falsifying medical records is a crime in Italy and those responsible would face sanction if the allegations are proven to be true.
Giorgi reached one WTA semifinal in 2022 on grass courts, and put together a relatively limited season after an excellent 2021 season. Giorgi is no stranger to controversy, she is well known to have a famously overbearing and aggressive father. She and her family, led by her father, were accused of incurring large debts to help finance the early stages of her tennis career in 2014, debts that they were accused of refusing to pay as agreed, ending up in court proceedings.
During that 2021 season, Giorgi tested positive for COVID-19 around the time of WTA Miami, causing her to miss both WTA Charleston and a Billie Jean King Cup tie.
Famously, both the Australian Open and the US Open required COVID vaccination to participate in the 2022 edition of those Grand Slam tournaments, the requirement led to Novak Djokovic missing both tournaments, along with marquee events like Indian Wells. the unvaccinated Djokovic was deported from Australia due to his refusal to be vaccinated and admitted to making a false statement on his Australian travel document.
COVID-19 vaccination requirements continue to be adjusted by governments and governing authorities around the world, with Djokovic set to be in the field for the 2023 Australian Open due to changes in Australian Government policy led to his ban on entry into the country being lifted. The current trend around the world is a relaxation of restrictions in 2023, compared to 2022, and this is set to impact professional tennis. Three French players, Former top 30 player Jeremy Chardy, who hasn’t played since 2021, former top 30 player Ugo Humbert, and former top 10 player Gael Monfils stated they had adverse side effects from receiving COVID-19 vaccinations that hindered their performance on court. Although Humbert’s situation was complicated by the fact he tested positive for Covid around the same time. Former ITF player Tanysha Dissanayake retired from her efforts to become a touring tennis professional due to long COVID.
A vast majority of WTA and ATP players have submitted documentation stating they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 including at least 85% of the top 100 WTA Tour Players and 97 of the top 100 ATP Tour players as of this past January, despite concerns raised by a number of players about receiving the vaccines.
Professional tennis has been more impacted by COVID-19 and various travel and vaccine restrictions and mandates than many other sports, as tennis requires constant international travel and a myriad of local, regional, and national regulations impact players who hold passports and citizenship from countries around the world, each with their own COVID-19 and vaccine policies. These policies also impact tournament attendance policies, and the travel of fans.
These complications have led to increased scrutiny on professional tennis players and their teams related to COVID, such as Sam Querrey’s exit from ATP St. Petersburg in Russia in 2021, and Giorgi is just the latest player involved in controversy related to COVID-19.
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