The summer of tennis in Australia continues. More or less.
Players from all over the world come to Australia to prepare for this year’s first Grand Slam, which begins on the 8th. February [AEDT] will begin.
But it’s not going very well: Since arriving in Australia on charter flights, nine people have tested positive for COVID-19. This forced all other passengers on these three separate flights to spend two weeks in quarantine in a hotel where they were not allowed to train.
In the meantime, players who did not come to Australia on the COWID-19 flight in question will continue to prepare with the five hours of training time they have been allocated, but otherwise will be subject to the same strict isolation protocols put in place to protect the entire Australian community.
Some actors, including Alize Cornet, expressed their displeasure at this situation, although the Frenchwoman had already apologized for the social media explosion, which she then described as a lack of tact.
Read on for the latest news, videos and social media updates since the start of the Australian Open.
MONDAY ZHANG. 18
Strict quarantine restrictions maintained
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has confirmed his government’s strict quarantine rules for tennis players new to the Australian Open, following criticism on social media this weekend.
During the first wave of charter flights to Melbourne, there were nine positive VIDOC-19 cases – including one actor – forcing all passengers into a strict 14-day mandatory quarantine.
I know a few of the players have talked a bit about the rules. Well, the rules apply to them as they do to everyone else, and they were all notified before they came, and that’s the condition under which they came, Andrews said at a news conference Monday.
There is no special environment here. Because the virus doesn’t treat you intentionally. So are we.
Two weeks quarantine and an integrated buffer to 8 hours. February is still a long way off before the tournament starts.
Melbourne was out of quarantine for about 40 days in late October, following a cluster of COVID-19 cases that occurred in hotels for returning travellers who had been quarantined. The state is currently in a 12-day period without any activity related to the transition to community management. Under the current agreements with Tennis Australia, new players can be quarantined and allowed to train outdoors for five hours a day, provided they return with a negative result.
Error! The file name is not specified. The Australian Open will be very different this year when it opens on the 8th. Early February, Fred Lee/Getty Images.
We fully support Tennis Australia’s rules and they have been communicated to all participants in the event, Andrews said.
That doesn’t mean everyone loves them, but that’s not the world we live in. This is a highly contagious pandemic. There are rules to follow. They won’t change. And that’s the basis on which people came here.
Following reports that eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic had proposed a list of ideas to change the quarantine conditions for the 72 players currently under strict quarantine, Andrews categorically rejected the idea.
Anyone is free to submit lists of requirements. But the answer is no. And it was expressed very clearly. He said it was very clear from the beginning.
So the idea that there is a change, the idea that people are not informed, I think that argument really has no integrity, and don’t take my word for it. You have other players who, I think, have made it clear on social media and other forums that they have clearly defined rules. And I probably couldn’t be easier.
We told people what the rules were. The rules won’t change because the health departments are the source of the rules.
SANDAY JAN. 17
Do you have a mattress? You only get one chance!
Who says you can’t practice in a hotel room? Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan), Pablo Cuevas (Uruguay) and Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) have imagined new ways of working in their hotel rooms.
Bad surface, but who cares pic.twitter.com/R8FsdyGafy?
– Belinda Bencic (@BelindaBencic) January 17, 2021
Preparing for the Grand Slam pic.twitter.com/ALvc4EugN6
– Yulia Putintseva (@Putintseva Yulia) January 17, 2021
See, you just have to get creative, people!
The show must go on.
Australian Open director Craig Tiley says the tournament will go ahead as planned, despite the chaos caused by the five positive COVID-19 tests that were conducted when charter flights carrying players, coaches and other staff arrived in Australia.
We’re looking at the schedule to see what we can do to help these players, Tiley told Nine Network on Sunday.
The Australian Open continues and we will do everything we can to give these players the best chance.
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