Paula Badosa retires during her qf (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Spain's Paula Badosa retires during her quarter-final at the Miami Open on March 30.

Miami Open vaccine injury claim aced by the facts

Nik Dirga April 8, 2022

Fifteen tennis players withdrew or retired from the Miami Open after suffering adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.


False. Official tournament records cite various sports injuries and illnesses. This is supported by news reports and players' social media posts.

A former Australian politician is among those to share claims that 15 tennis players withdrew from the Miami Open due to COVID-19 vaccine injuries.

However, there is no connection between the players withdrawing and adverse effects of the vaccine. Official results (women’s singles and men’s singles), provided by the ATP and WTA event, cite various sports injuries or other illness as the reason for most of the withdrawals, which are backed up by players’ social media accounts.

The claim was shared by Fraser Anning, a former senator for Queensland from 2017 to 2019, who is known for his controversial statements.  “A total of 15 tennis players have withdrawn from the Miami Open,” Anning writes on his post sharing a website link. “Naturally they’re doing all they can to blame it on other factors,” adding the hashtag #vaccineinjuries.

The article Anning quotes is from The Richardson Post website, and claims that the tennis players withdrew because of “the vaccine. That’s what’s going on.” Other websites and social media accounts make similar claims linking vaccination, with some falsely reporting all the players had chest pains.

A total of 15 players are listed on the official Miami Open women’s singles results (here)  as withdrawing before play or retirement, which is leaving during a match.

Camila Giorgi suffered a right wrist injury, as stated in media reports, while Garbiñe Muguruza discussed her shoulder injury on Twitter, as did Simona Halep and Caroline Garcia with their own injuries.

Maryna Zanevksa posted on Instagram about problems with an “old injury”, while Karolina Muchova had abdominal injury problems which she confirmed on social media. Dalma Galfi also referred to injury pains on Instagram.

Sofia Kenin pulled out due to an ankle injury according to media reports, as did Anna Kalinskaya with an arm injury, Angelina Kalinina with a thigh injury and Clara Tauson due to heat illness. Tauson’s father told Danish media that many players at the tournament had illnesses, and “more than a handful of players were facing similar problems and several had to withdraw from the tournament” (translated from Danish).

The main image used with the Facebook post features former world number one Victoria Azarenka appearing to clutch her heart. But Azarenka retired controversially in the middle of a match citing personal issues, later adding her personal life has been “extremely stressful.” She has withdrawn from seven tournaments in the past 14 months, BBC Sport reported.

Of the other players who withdrew, Paula Badosa retired mid-match and said she had been “struggling with illness”, but gave no indication this was due to vaccination. Marketa Vondrousova is listed on the Miami Open sheet as suffering from a “viral illness”, while Kateřina Siniaková confirmed on social media she was ill, due to abdominal injury, according to the Miami Open sheet.

The Richardson Post also cites Jannik Sinner being forced to withdraw from the men’s tournament without mentioning that he left due to foot blisters. In total, there were four in the men’s draw who either withdrew or retired – Sinner, Reilly Opelka (right shoulder), Matteo Berrettini (right hand) and Jan-Lennard Struff (right foot).

Tennis fans on message boards noted the high amount of withdrawals and retirements in Miami, however, injuries in tennis tournaments aren’t unusual, industry experts say, and there has been no link to COVID vaccines in news reports.

Tennis players “are susceptible to a range of injuries including chronic overuse conditions and acute traumatic injuries,” according to a 2018 review of incidents. A British Journal of Sport Medicine study in 2016 noted “the high prevalence of unresolved or recurrent injuries” in professional players.

The Verdict

Fifteen women and four men at the Miami Open withdrew or retired from play, but there is no indication their exits had anything to do with COVID vaccines. Official tournament records cite injuries and illnesses, which are backed up by multiple news reports and social media accounts from the players themselves.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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