Nearly 80 tennis players have been quarantined ahead of the Australian Open, as at least 9 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, arriving on chartered flights. These quarantine rules mean that the players will not be allowed to leave their rooms or go out for practise for the next 14 days.
The staging of the international event has been debated in Australia given the country's very low virus numbers and strict entry rules. Many players have also expressed frustration over being quarantined in the hotel full-time, while many of their tennis rivals are not. These 72 quarantined members of the title have arrived in one of the three flights that contained the infected travellers. Other players who have landed in Australia for the Grand Slam have to maintain a 14 day quarantine period but are allowed to train, leaving their hotels for five hours every day.
A total of 15 chartered flights have brought over 1,200 players, staff and officials into Australia for the tournament.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says that the players, in the context of the coronavirus safety measures, will be getting “no special treatment”. “The virus doesn't treat you specially, so neither do we”, Andrews said.
Some of the players who were stuck under the stricter quarantine rules complained about the unequal playing/practise conditions ahead of important tournaments. Some players stated that they were not aware of the rule that if one person tested positive they all would have to isolate. Had they known about this rule, thye may not have attended the tournament, some said. However, Tennis Australia insisted that they had made their quarantine rules very clear.
While most players landed in Melbourne and have been isolated there, legendary players like Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka flew into Adelaide instead, for an exhibition tournament.
The Australian open this year has already been hit by the withdrawal of injured Roger Federer, while three time champion Andy Murray tested positive for the virus before departure so he could not fly to Australia.
The Australian Open 2021 starts on February 8th.