72 tennis stars have touched down in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. The bad news? They’ve been forced into hotel quarantine after COVID cases were confirmed on three charter flights.
Running a world-class, international sporting competition has come with a myriad of challenges in the coronavirus era, particularly when it comes to Australia’s 14-day mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals.
72 tennis stars competing in the Australian Open next month have touched down in Melbourne and were placed on high alert after COVID infections were reported on three charter flights bringing players into Australia.
This means the players will be unable to leave their rooms, even to train and consult with their coaches should they return a negative test.
Some players have taken a creative approach to making the best of a bad situation, like hitting balls against the walls and windows of their hotel rooms, and others, like British player Heather Watson, are managing a 5km jog up and down the length of their room.
Yes, indeed you can workout anywhere.
Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this.
There has been some confusion, however, with some players complaining they weren’t aware the entire plane would need to isolate should there be a positive case onboard.
“What I don’t understand is that, why no-one ever told us, if one person on board is positive the whole plane need to be isolated … I would think twice before coming here,” Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva said on Twitter.
But Victorian health authorities and organisers at the Australian Open said players were fully aware of the quarantine requirements before they arrived in Australia.
Clearly unsatisfied with the rules of entry into Australia, World Number One Novak Djokovic is said to have issued some demands to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley, according to Spanish tennis website Punto de Break:
– Fitness and training material in all rooms.
– Decent food for all players, after a number of players complained about their food on day one of quarantine.
– Fewer overall days of isolation for the players hotel quarantine, while also carrying out more COVID tests.
– Permission for players to visit their coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed COVID tests.
– Permission for players and coaches to be on the same floor of the hotel, if they pass COVID tests.
– Relocation of many tennis players as possible to private houses with a court for their isolation period.
“It’s a firm NO from me,” commissioner of COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, Emma Cassar told 3AW.
Djokovic made some (ironically considering his first name is Novak) controversial anti-vaccine statements in April last year, to which he later clarified: “My issue here with vaccines is if someone is forcing me to put something in my body. That I don’t want.”
If the Australian government makes proof of vaccination a legal requirement for entry into the country, could this be the last Australian Open Djokovic competes in?