Belarusian star Victoria Azarenka made a passionate appeal to all Australian Open candidates to “accept, adapt and keep moving”, amid the wildfire surrounding the 14-day lockdown many of them are trapped in.
A total of 72 players are now subject to strict two-week quarantine measures that have confined them to their hotel rooms, after three of the 17 charter flights were found to be affected by COVID-19.
Roberto Bautista Agut, Fabio Fognini, Pablo Carreno Busta and, extraordinarily, even the partner of Australian tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic – Vanessa Sierra – are among the men and women who have criticized the quarantine.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic even weighed in the debate when he was not locked, the publication of a wish list on behalf of Australian Open contenders placed in quarantine.
Djokovic’s bold suggestion was met with outright rejection from Victorian Prime Minister Dan Andrews.
MORE TENNIS NEWS: Nick Kyrgios calls Novak Djokovic ‘a tool’ after Australian Open quarantine wishlist
Azarenka took to Twitter to encourage other Grand Slam contestants, the media and the community to be “understanding.”
“We have a global pandemic, no one has a clear manual on how to operate at full capacity and without problems, we all saw it last year,” read an Azarenka article.
“I would like to ask all of my colleagues to cooperate, understand and empathize with the local community who went through many very demanding restrictions that they did not choose, but were forced to follow.
“I would also like to ask to be sensitive to the people who lost their jobs and their loved ones during this horrific time for all of us around the world.
“I would like to ask all of us to have people who work tirelessly to try to make our lives easier.”
Former American tennis star Pam Shriver replied, “Spot on Vika thank you !! We can all count our blessings and gratitude today and every day. PS.”
Former Australia’s No.1 doubles hero Rennae Stubbs retweeted the post and dropped the hashtag “class”.
The Australian Open will take place February 8-21 at Melbourne Park.
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