Kevin Durant said nobody is hoping Kyrie Irving will return to "save us" after the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Charlotte Hornets amid protests in support of the absent NBA All-Star.

Irving is yet to play this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing with the Nets – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

Demonstrators gathered outside Barclays Center prior to Sunday's 111-95 defeat at home to the Hornets, showing their support of Irving.

After the Nets dropped to 1-2 for the season, Durant was asked about team-mate Irving and him being away from the championship-chasing franchise.

"It's three games in. Of course, we've got enough," Durant told reporters post-game after posting 38 points.

"We definitely want Kyrie Irving out here on the floor and he's a huge part of what we do, but it's not happening right now. So we've got to figure it out.

"But nobody's going to lose confidence while we're playing and hope Kyrie comes and saves us during the game. No, you've got to play."

James Harden was far from his best against the Hornets, going just six-of-16 shooting from the field for 15 points in 33 minutes, while he also tallied eight turnovers.

 

The former MVP endured an injury-hit first season with the Nets following his blockbuster trade from the Houston Rockets.

"I'm just getting my confidence back," Harden said. "I'm a little hesitant. You guys can see it. Just making sure my confidence continues to build, and that's all that matters.

"We're at game three and hopefully my confidence -- not hopefully -- but my confidence will rise and will continue to get better as games go on, and I feel more confident and get that burst of speed like I'm normally used to. No worries at all."

Harden has also found himself drawing fewer fouls this season after the NBA introduced a rule change, aimed specifically at players who make "abnormal movements" to get to the free-throw line.

He only went to the line once against the Hornets, having averaged 4.0 attempts heading into the contest – his lowest average since the 2010-11 season (4.2).

"I feel like he's unfairly become the poster boy of not calling these fouls," Nets head coach Steve Nash said. "Some of them are definitely fouls still."

Nash added: "I think he’s got to stick with it. But they're just so alert and aware, and he's the poster child of these new decisions.  I get it, there's a line, but some of them are still fouls.

"So, he's just got to stick with it, he’s got to keep going to the basket, and he's got to do what he does because a large portion of them are still fouls, and if he doesn't get fouls, he can still make plays.

"He can still finish them, and pass and do all the things that he does. So he's just got to continue as he finds his rhythm again after very little basketball for half a year. Keep attacking, keep attacking, and they're gonna respect his skill level and his ability to get guys on his shoulder and get to the basket."

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expects "very responsible" Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich to show he is a role model by taking the coronavirus vaccine.

Germany midfielder Kimmich stated that he wants to wait for further research to be conducted before he is jabbed.

The 26-year-old and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka started a 'We Kick Corona' initiative last year to help those affected by COVID-19.

Former Bayern president Rummenigge says Kimmich should not be criticised for wanting to know if there may be any long-term effects of being vaccinated but believes he should take the jab and will in the near future.

The Germany great told Bild Live: "First of all, I would like to say to Kimmich that he may be the Bundesliga player who has a role model function in many ways. 

"I know him as a great person, as his 'We kick Corona' initiative shows. Of course, it came as a surprise that he wasn't vaccinated. That has now led to a discussion. 

"In February of this year, I suggested that it would be wise to vaccinate footballers early – as an example for everyone else. 

"I've been horribly criticised. Now it has turned a little. What Joshua does is very responsible. He would like to wait for things like the long-term effects for himself and he is tested every other day. As a role model, it would still be better if he were vaccinated.

"I am convinced that he may be vaccinated soon. He is a totally responsible person and player. We can be very happy that he is part of these two teams in our country."

Rummenigge does not believe players should be left with no choice.

He added: "The compulsory vaccination does not lie with football, but with politics. Due to the fact that one or the other is not vaccinated in Bavaria, we now have a discussion. But that shouldn't be introduced through football."

Head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who is fully vaccinated, was absent for the Bundesliga champions' 4-0 hammerings of Benfica and Hoffenheim this week after testing positive for COVID-19.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews is hopeful a crowd of at least 80,000 will be able to attend the Boxing Day Ashes Test at the MCG.

Melbourne residents this week celebrated coming out of a sixth lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

No city in the world has been locked down more than Melbourne, but further easing of restrictions have been mapped out by the Victorian government.

There is optimism that there will be a huge attendance when Australia do battle with England in the third Test in two months' time, provided vaccination rates continue to increase.

Andrews said on Sunday: "I want to see 80,000 plus people at the Boxing Day Test on day one, that's what I want to see.

"We are determined to deliver that. It won't be easy. I think selling the tickets will be pretty easy."

A crowd of 78,113 for the Anzac Day AFL match last April was the biggest at the MCG, which can hold in excess of 100,000 people, since the start of the pandemic.

Theo Hernandez has been cleared to return to action for Milan after recovering from coronavirus.

The 24-year-old tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning from international duty with France nearly two weeks ago.

He was subsequently forced to sit out the Serie A wins over Hellas Verona and Bologna, either side of Tuesday's 1-0 loss to Porto in the Champions League.

However, Milan announced on their official website on Sunday that Hernandez's latest coronavirus test came back negative and he is now available for selection.

Stefano Pioli's side face Torino and Roma in Serie A over the next week, before hosting Porto and bitter rivals Inter in crucial games ahead of the next international break.

Fode Ballo-Toure has filled in during Hernandez's absence, but the Frenchman's return will be considered a huge positive for Pioli.

 

Since joining Milan in July 2019, Hernandez's combined 25 goals and assists has been bettered by only four defenders in Europe's top five leagues – Trent Alexander-Arnold, Raphael Guerreiro (both 28), Achraf Hakimi and Robin Gosens (both 35).

The 93 chances created by Hernandez in Serie A over that same timeframe is third to Federico Dimarco (97) and Juan Cuadrado (114), the latter of whom has often played further forward.

Prior to being struck down by coronavirus, Hernandez played a crucial role in France's Nations League success with a 90th-minute winner in the 3-2 semi-final victory over Belgium and an assist for Kylian Mbappe's winner in the 2-1 final triumph over Spain.

Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich has explained his reasoning for not getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes as Bayern swept Hoffenheim aside 4-0 at home, with Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski, Eric Choupo-Moting and Kingsley Coman scoring the goals.

It was the second match in succession that fully vaccinated head coach Julian Nagelsmann missed due to testing positive for the coronavirus, with the 34-year-old also not present for the 4-0 victory over Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Kimmich explained that he is not opposed to the prospect of getting vaccinated at some stage, but he wishes to wait for further research to be conducted.

"I just want to wait for myself when it comes to long-term studies [about the vaccine]," Kimmich told Sky Deutschland after the game. "Nevertheless, I am aware of my responsibility.

"Of course, I adhere to the hygiene measures. It is also the case that we unvaccinated players at the club are tested every two or three days.

"Nevertheless, it is not now that I am in any way a corona denier or vaccination opponent. I don't say categorically that I won't be vaccinated at all. It's just about the fact that I still have a few concerns. That is why it is very possible that I will be vaccinated in the future."

The Germany international was asked about the initiative 'WeKickCorona' started last year by himself and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka, and Kimmich explained that his aim was to help those affected by COVID-19.

"'WeKickCorona' was about supporting charitable institutions and non-profit purposes that support people who are in need due to corona," Kimmich said. 

"We have also donated money to Unicef, which then makes vaccines available. The point is that there are countries that do not have access to the vaccine. 

"I think everyone should make the decision for themselves. It [should not be] possible that someone has no access."

Julian Nagelsmann has set up a kitchen control room to guide Bayern Munich while he remains away from the team after a COVID-19 positive test.

Assistant head coach Dino Toppmoller will lead from the touchline when Bayern host Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga on Saturday, having also stood in for the 4-0 win at Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Despite being fully vaccinated, Nagelsmann learned that the flu-like symptoms he was experiencing in Portugal were caused by coronavirus.

He said he feels "a bit weak" and is wary of getting in the way of the work being carried out by Toppmoller and fellow assistant Xaver Zembrod.

"Still, I am trying to take control if possible," said head coach Nagelsmann.

"In isolation, I have built myself a little analysis centre with a big screen, iPad and laptop. I have different technical abilities now, also when it comes to the scouting feed for the game.

"It looks like a big data centre, right in my kitchen so that I have a short way to the tea kettle. I am positive that we will have a good impact. For training rhythm, this is not so bad because we don't really have training right now."

With such a heavy game schedule, Bayern's players are only ticking over between matches, rather than going through major sessions on the training pitch.

Nagelsmann is optimistic of being back at his Bayern desk in a matter of days, and says his positive test came as a jolt, insisting he had been trying to stay out of danger.

"I think we are all being cautious basically. This is hard, you cannot always say 100 per cent where you get the infection from," Nagelsmann said.

"I haven't done anything illegal or been at this party in Berlin where you had 22 people positive. I wasn't there, as an example. Basically, you never know. I was also a bit shocked.

"I just thought that I had a flu like many people at that time. For vaccinated people like me, things get less restricted and then you can also get infected easier.

"Of course, I went to a restaurant last week but I don't know... I couldn't find out where I got it from. I don't think you can, this is really hard. The virus you have in your body doesn't come with a number that makes it trackable. That's just how it is."

Bayern head into the weekend with a one-point advantage over Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

Nagelsmann is in his first season with the club, having left RB Leipzig at the end of last season to take over from Hansi Flick, who left Bayern to become head coach of Germany.

Before Leipzig, Nagelsmann cut his teeth with Hoffenheim, so he misses out on a reunion on Saturday.

Between 2016 and 2019, Nagelsmann managed Hoffenheim in 116 Bundesliga games, achieving a points-per-game average of 1.65, comfortably the best record of any coach of the club to have taken charge of at least five top-flight games.

On Saturday, Bayern will be looking to avoid a second successive home defeat in the Bundesliga, having been beaten 2-1 by Eintracht Frankfurt in their previous game at the Allianz Arena. The last time they lost consecutive league home games was in 2001 under Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann has tested positive for COVID-19.

Nagelsmann was absent due to 'flu-like symptoms' as Bayern beat Benfica 4-0 in Portugal on Wednesday, maintaining their flawless Champions League group-stage record so far this season, with assistant manager Dino Toppmoller standing in.

The Bavarian giants have won each of their first three games in the competition, scoring 12 times and not conceding a single goal to sit five points clear at the top of Group E.

The club confirmed on Thursday morning that the 34-year-old, despite being fully vaccinated, had tested positive for the virus and will return to Munich separately instead of with the rest of the squad before isolating at his home.

As a result, Nagelsmann will miss Bayern's next league game at home against Hoffenheim on October 23, with Toppmoller set to continue filling in.

Bayern are one point ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, winning six and losing just one of their first eight games as they seek a 10th consecutive league title.

Aryna Sabalenka edged past Ajla Tomljanovic in the Kremlin Cup to reach the quarter-finals in her first match since contracting COVID-19 after the US Open semi-finals. 

Top seed Sabalenka – appearing in Moscow for the first time – had not played since being downed by Leylah Fernandez, having tested positive for coronavirus on the eve of the Indian Wells Open. 

The Belarusian, who sits second in the world rankings, profited from a bye in the first round before battling past Tomljanovic 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-1 on Wednesday as she fired 10 aces but made 30 unforced errors. 

Sabalenka will now meet Ekaterina Alexandrova after the Russian cruised past Anhelina Kalinina 6-4 6-1, while Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova comfortably defeated Bernarda Pera 6-2 7-5. 

Number two seed Garbine Muguruza also reached her seventh quarter-final of the season as she defeated Tereza Martincova 6-4 4-6 6-3 in just under three hours in Moscow. 

Meanwhile, Elina Svitolina was shocked in the Tenerife Open as she was dumped out by Maria Camila Osorio Serrano, who succeeded 5-7 6-3 6-2 to claim her first top-10 victory. 

Svitolina was the favourite in Spain and comfortably took the first set on Tuesday. However, inadequate light stopped play and the 19-year-old Osorio responded emphatically the following day to secure a memorable triumph. 

Ann Li coasted past Varvara Gracheva 6-4 6-2 after Anna Karolina Schmiedlova had dispatched Jaqueline Cristian 6-2 7-5 in the opening match of the day. 

Xinyu Wang retired injured against Alize Cornet, who led 4-1 in the decisive set, while Donna Vekic and Irina-Camelia Begu's match was suspended for bad light with the Croatian leading by a set. 

The Club World Cup will be held in the United Arab Emirates in early 2022, FIFA has confirmed.

The annual tournament featuring the champions of six global confederations, along with the hosts' national champions, was originally scheduled for Japan in 2021.

The Japan Football Association (JFA) were preparing to stage the competition for the first time in five years, but a rise in coronavirus cases in the country led to questions as to whether hosting would be profitable.

The JFA subsequently pulled out following discussions with FIFA in September, with president Gianni Infantino announcing on Wednesday that the UAE - who have staged the tournament four times before - will instead play host to the tournament.

The exact dates of the rearranged Club World Cup are still to be announced, though FIFA indicated the competition will be staged in 2022, with Champions League winners Chelsea set to feature.

Thomas Tuchel's Blues will face Egyptian side Al Ahly and New Zealand's Auckland City, who are part of a 10-team roster for FIFA's showpiece club event.

FIFA, in 2020, had already selected Japan as host for the seven-club event after an expanded 24-team tournament - originally scheduled for China in June 2021 - was delayed due to coronavirus issues.

Australian Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke insists Novak Djokovic would need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to enter the country and defend his Australian Open title.

The Serbian is the top-ranked player in the world and could move clear of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for grand slam titles if he can claim his 21st at Melbourne Park.

However, Hawke's comments regarding vaccination requirements cast doubts over Djokovic's participation, with the 34-year-old previously declining to reveal his vaccination status.

"You'll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia," Hawke said to Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio. "That's a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated.

"I don't have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He'll need to be double vaccinated."

With recent reports suggesting that over a third of professional players have yet to be fully vaccinated, a significant number could be denied the chance to play in the opening grand slam of 2022.

The men's ATP and women's WTA tours have attempted to encourage players with reservations to get the vaccine, and Tennis Australia explained that it was working with government authorities regarding conditions for the tournament.

"Our understanding is that the details around international visitors entering the country are yet to be decided and we hope to have more information soon," Tennis Australia said in a statement.

Australia's health minister Greg Hunt defended the ruling, explaining that the decision had been taken with the safety of the country's citizens in mind.

"The [rules] apply to everyone without fear or favour," Hunt said. "It doesn't matter whether you are number one in the world or you are anything else."

Djokovic, who withdrew from the Indian Wells Masters this month, has won nine of his majors at the Australian Open.

San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane has been suspended for 21 games without pay by the NHL after violating the league's COVID-19 protocol.

Kane was not with the Sharks during their training camp, while he did not play in the team's season-opening 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.

The 30-year-old – who led the Sharks last season with 49 points (22 goals and 27 assists) in 56 games – is not eligible to return until November 30 against the New Jersey Devils after allegations he submitted a fake COVID-19 vaccination card to the NHL and team.

"I would like to apologise to my team-mates, the San Jose Sharks organisation, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols," Kane said in a statement on Monday.

"I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counselling to help me make better decisions in the future.

"When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey."

San Jose left wing Kane has four seasons remaining on a seven-year contract he signed with the Sharks in 2018.

Selected with the fourth pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, Kane has tallied 506 points – 264 goals and 242 assists – in 769 regular-season games with the Atlanta Thrashers, Jets, Buffalo Sabres and Sharks, while he has managed 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in 29 Stanley Cup playoff appearances

"The NHL has advised our organisation that Evander Kane has been suspended without pay for 21 games for an established violation of, and lack of compliance with, the NHL/NHLPA COVID-19 Protocols," the Sharks said in a statement.

"While we are encouraged by Evander's commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA. We will not be commenting further on Evander's status prior to the conclusion of the NHL's mandated suspension."

Kevin Durant is confident a resolution can be found amid Kyrie Irving's refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19 that is preventing him practising or playing with the Brooklyn Nets.

New York City has a mandate in place, which states NBA players must have had a jab to protect against coronavirus.

Irving stated this week he is neither pro nor anti-vaccination and has respect for both sides of the argument, but as yet he has not had at least one shot, which is the minimum required for him to play home games at the Barclays Center and in fixtures at Madison Square Garden where the New York Knicks play.

The Nets decided Irving will have no involvement with the team until he complies with the rules, but Durant – who joined alongside his team-mate as a free agent in 2019 – is optimistic a resolution will be found.

Speaking after the Nets completed their pre-season duties with a 107-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Durant said: "I definitely want Kyrie to be around.

"I wish none of this stuff would happen, but this is the situation that we are in. Kyrie made his decision on what he wanted to do and he chose to do what he wanted to do, and the team did the same.

"It's on me to just focus on me, and do my job, and let those two parties handle that situation. I want our whole team together, and I want us to be at full strength, but sometimes it don't work out that way. But I am still positive that things will work out the best for both parties."

Durant is not upset over Irving's decision, though he acknowledged the situation is not ideal for a star-studded Nets team with championship aspirations.

"We still get to do [what] we love to do every day. This is not the ideal situation coming into the season but some of this, it's out of our control," he added.

"So, what we can do is come in and focus on our jobs every single day. What is being mad going to do?

"We are not going to change his mind, know what I'm saying? We'll let him figure out what he needs to do and the team figure out what they need to do.

"I can't be too mad at somebody making a decision for themselves.

"Who am I to get upset at that? Just focus on what we got in this locker room. When [Irving] is ready, I am sure he will talk to [team owner] Joe [Tsai] and [general manager] Sean [Marks] and they'll figure it out and they'll tell us. Until then we are going to keep grinding."

Kyrie Irving reiterated he will stand by his decision to remain unvaccinated after the Brooklyn Nets confirmed the NBA All-Star will not play until he receives the COVID-19 vaccine.

Irving has not been vaccinated and is therefore ineligible to play in home games with the championship-chasing Nets due to New York City mandates.

Nets general manager Sean Marks confirmed on Tuesday that the franchise will not accept Irving playing on a part-time basis and thus overlook him for selection until he is vaccinated.

Irving, who is part of the Nets 'big three' alongside Kevin Durant and James Harden, broke his silence via social media on Wednesday, stating he will not change his stance leaving him in limbo.

"I'm standing with all those that believe in what is right and are doing what is right for themselves," Irving said in an Instagram Live. "Everybody has a personal choice with their lives. Everybody is entitled to do what they feel is what's best for themselves.

"Seeing the way this is dividing our world up, being vaccinated or unvaccinated. It's sad to see. It's creating a lot of division.

"Don't believe that I'm retiring or I'm going to give up this game for a vaccine mandate, don't believe any of that."

Irving stressed that he had no ill feeling towards the Nets nor his team-mates, explaining that his decision was in the interests of him and his family.

"I'm not going to sit here to give you information or wisdom beyond my years, I'm here just to stay real and true to me," he said. "It's my life, I get to do whatever I want with this, I get one body.

"You're telling me what to do with my body. It has nothing to do with the organisation. I'm going to put that out there, it has nothing to do with the Nets or my team-mates. This has everything to do with what's going in our world, I'm being grouped in with something's that's bigger than a game of basketball."

He added: "It's not being anti-vax. It's not about being one side or the other. It's about what feels good to me. I'm feeling uncertain about a lot of things and that's OK. If I'm going to be demonised for having more questions and taking my time to make a decision with my life, that's just what it is.

"I know the consequences of the decision I make with my life. I'm not here to sugarcoat any of that. It's crazy times that we're in… I haven't hurt anybody. I haven't committed a crime. I'm not out here acting dumb or stupid. I'm out here looking after my family and kids.

"If you choose to get the vaccine, I support you. Do what's best for you. I continue to pray for all those out there who have lost people to the pandemic to COVID."

Irving said he had not anticipated that he would be mandated to be vaccinated ahead of the new NBA season which starts for the Nets against defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday.

"What would you do, if you felt uncomfortable going into the season when you were promised that you'd have exemptions or you wouldn't be forced to have to get the vaccine," he said.

"This wasn't an issue before the season started. This wasn't something that I foresaw coming and I could prepare for it and I could strategise on what would be best for me and my family. I came into this season thinking I was going to be able to play ball."

In 2020-21, Irving averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game as the Nets lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals to the Bucks. 

Irving enjoyed a career-high 50.6 field-goal percentage and joint-career best 92.2 free-throw percentage last season.

It has been reported Irving, who will not be paid for missed home games, will not be offered a contract extension by the Nets.

Irving added: "You think I really want to give up on my dream to go after a championship? You think I really just want to just give up my job? You think I want to sit at home and not go after the things with my team-mates that I've been able to grow with and learn with?"

Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash said the decision to keep Kyrie Irving away from the NBA championship hopefuls until he is cleared to play was a "difficult" but "sound" choice.

The Nets are set to be without seven-time All-Star Irving – who remains unvaccinated – for the start of their regular season unless his coronavirus vaccine status is resolved.

Irving is ineligible to play in home games or practice in Brooklyn due to New York City mandates, with people in New York requiring at least one coronavirus vaccine to enter indoor arenas such as the Nets' Barclays Center.

While Nash and former MVP James Harden are ready to move on without Irving, the duo insisted the title-chasing Nets would welcome back the 2016 NBA champion.

"Everyone had their say," Nash told reporters after Wednesday's practice. "It takes time to make decisions like that. This is a difficult decision. But I think it was a sound one and one that makes complete sense to everyone.

"We are just going to move on, and if things change, it would be incredible to have him back in the fold. It was a tenuous situation to have a player in and out like that. There's more clarity, and we can focus on the future and get going."

"For guys to be able to not have the uncertainty I think is important," Nash said. "It's not kind of hanging over us. A decision was made, and I think that can be beneficial to us starting to really build and have that understanding that this is what's happening instead of we were living in a world that was very uncertain.

"We weren't sure from one day to the next what was going to change or what was going to happen. That can be difficult, and that can put an extra strain on everybody."

In 2020-21, Irving averaged 26.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game as the Nets lost in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Irving enjoyed a career-high 50.6 field-goal percentage and joint-career best 92.2 free-throw percentage last season.

Harden added: "Sean [Marks], Steve [Nash], me, KD [Kevin Durant], Kyrie, we all had conversations. Kyrie believes in his beliefs, and he stands firm and strong on that. And for us, we respect it. We all love Ky. But as far as us, we have a job to do.

"Individually, myself, I am still wanting to set myself up for a championship. And I feel like the entire organisation is on the same path and we are all in this as a collective unit."

"I have no say so in that," Harden said of the Irving decision. "I can only state my opinion, and we got to continue to move forward. Obviously, we would love to have Kyrie here."

"We still have two pretty good leaders on the team," Harden continued. "Know what I mean? And obviously Ky is our leader as well. We still have myself and Kevin [Durant]. [We] have to lead, which we are pretty good at that, and go out there and be great every single night."

Andy Murray has called for more players to get vaccinated against COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open next year.

Unvaccinated players are expected to be allowed to compete, but are likely to have restrictions imposed on them in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old voiced his support for such restrictions, explaining that he understands why they would be put in place.

"My understanding is if you're unvaccinated you're still allowed to play, it's just the rules are going to be different," Murray said.

"You might just have to leave [for Australia] a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That's the player's choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that.

"It would be great if more players got vaccinated. Australia, in particular, has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever.

"If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, yeah, that's understandable."

Murray was beaten in the Indian Wells third round by Alexander Zverev, who admitted he had not been vaccinated in April, on October 12 and the German declined to take a side in the debate.

"I fully respect the decisions of players that are not vaccinated," Zverev said. "I also do respect the decision that the Australian government is giving.

"I don't want to be in the middle of something which I kind of am not involved in because I don't have that issue of the two-week quarantine, all that. I don't want to go against anybody here."

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