Tennis

Australian Open | Players finding ways to deal with quarantine

Novak Djokovic is one among the players who is allowed to practice under bio-secure protocals.   | Photo Credit: AFP

With no way out, tennis players in lockdown are figuring out ways to keep themselves fit within the confines of their Melbourne hotel rooms as they prepare for the Australian Open.

Angelique Kerber spent her birthday in quarantine on Monday. Kerber is among the 72 players doing hard quarantine for 14 days after five positive coronavirus tests were returned from charter flights that brought here almost 1,200 players, coaches, officials and media.

That means those players won't be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Others in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily.

Those outdoor sessions started on Monday in Melbourne. A smaller group of players who landed in Adelaide, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, are also allowed outside to practice under bio-secure protocols.

Responding to unconfirmed reports that Djokovic, an eight-time Australian Open champion, had proposed a list of ideas to change the quarantine conditions for players, Victoria State premier Daniel Andrews said: “People are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no.”

Warning

Players have been warned that breaching the rules could result in fines or being moved to a more secure quarantine complex with police stationed at their doors.

Victoria state COVID-19 quarantine commissioner Emma Cassar said over the weekend there would be “zero tolerance" for people trying to breach the rules.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley remains adamant the tournament will start February 8, saying organisers would have to “manage an environment over the next 14 days for those who won't be able to practice”. “It’s a tough situation,” he said.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 9:25:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/australian-open-players-finding-ways-to-deal-with-quarantine/article33603506.ece

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