Wednesday, October 4, 2023

COVID-19 Australian Open quarantine crisis

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Angry players have said they may never have traveled to the Australian Open if they had known the COVID-19 quarantine measures would be so strict.

One player also said it would be impossible for the 47 players currently under strict quarantine to be in adequate Grand Slam condition, while another called her sudden isolation “torture”.

However, the complaining players hit a serve from Australian big double Rennae Stubbs on Sunday, with the four-time Grand Slam winner-turned-commentator pointing out that the Australian Open first-round losers will still cash in $ 100,000.

Stubbs also highlighted a response from a Twitter user, who said he would happily spend three months in quarantine for that amount.

The Australian Open was in chaos Saturday, when three positive cases of COVID-19 were detected on two inbound international charter flights, out of a total of 17 flights. Two cases were on a plane from Los Angeles; a flight crew member and a non-playing Australian Open participant.

One of the cases was confirmed as the coach of former US Open winner Bianca Andreescu, Sylvain Bruneau, who said he was “deeply sorry” and tested negative before taking the plane from Abu Dhabi.

Everyone on the affected planes has been placed in strict lockdown and will not be able to train for a period of 14 days. As part of the initial plans for the Australian Open, all players were to be given a five-hour window to train, train and eat during quarantine. Open Tournament Director and CEO of Tennis Australia Craig Tiley told Weekend TODAY on Sunday that the event will still go as planned.

Female players Yulia Putinseva and Sorana Cirstea, world No.28 and 71 respectively, said they might have skipped the Australian Open if they had known there would be such strict rules on close contact COVID-19.

“What I don’t understand is, why no one has ever told us, if someone on board is sure the whole plane needs to be isolated. I would think twice before I come here “Putinva wrote on Twitter.

“Because they said, you should only do it if you or one of your team members is positive! Not a random person on the plane.”

Putinva’s isolation was made worse by the untimely appearance of a rodent in his hotel room.

Cirstea agreed with Putinva, saying she would need three weeks of training and practice to regain her peak form after two weeks of inactivity.

Cirstea pointed to previous comments by Australian Open tournament director and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley that players couldn’t play in a Grand Slam after two weeks confined to a hotel room.

“I want to go home, but I’m not allowed to,” Cirstea wrote on Twitter.

World No.53 Alize Cornet, who was not an affected aircraft, claimed players were told they would only be under strict quarantine if their plane ‘section’ contained a positive result for the coronavirus.

In a since-deleted tweet that drew negative reactions, Cornet wrote: “Soon half of the players in AO will actually have to self-isolate. Weeks and weeks of practice and hard work will be wasted on one person. positive for COVID 3/4 empty plane. Sorry but this is insane. “

World No.31 Ons Jabeur also claimed the quarantine rules described to players had changed, firing back at Stubbs.

“Sorry Rennae but they never told us about these rules,” Jabeur replied on Twitter.

“Everything changed overnight. Don’t get me wrong, we are grateful for everything they do. We have certainly never asked for free theft and food. This is not about quarantine, c ‘is all about transparency. “

World No.12 Belinda Bencic said the strict quarantines made preparations for the Australian Open deeply unfair.

World No.86 Kirsten Flipkens avoided the affected planes but said it was “insane” that the players were locked up for two weeks. She suggested the Australian Open be pushed back from its February 8 start date.

World No.99 Marta Kostyuk said Ukrainian media this isolation would be unbearable.

“There is nothing we can do because the authorities will never allow us to go out,” she said.

“It would be fair if the other players were in such conditions as well, but such an initiative has to come from them.

“I think there will be more positive tests on other flights. As for me, I haven’t received the test results yet and many other girls on my flight are waiting for them as well.

“We also need comfortable conditions to be in such strict isolation. The wifi is not very good and some girls don’t even have it.

“Being alone is such torture and at the same time we can’t even call our coaches. In addition, we also need treadmills or bicycles. I didn’t ask for them before I flew here as I wasn’t going to be staying in my room all the time.

“Once the isolation is over, you have to have training preferences to be able to take advantage of these few days to prepare. But anyway, it is obvious that good preparation is almost impossible in such a short time.

“Finally, the organizers must schedule our matches as late as possible. I understand that it would be extremely difficult to achieve all these wishes.”

Some big names were caught in the two flights involved.

There were 24 players on the plane from Los Angeles, including former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, 2017 US Open winner Sloane Stephens and Japanese male star Kei Nishikori. The Abu Dhabi flight contained 23 players, including Grand Slam winners Andreescu, Angelique Kerber and Svetlana Kuznetsova.

An Adelaide player center comprising stars like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams has not been affected.

There was already anger over the Adelaide hub, which is limited to 50 people because it has better facilities. Due to the presence of a gym available in the hotel, it is believed that the best players can use more free time to train on the court and continue to train outside of their five hour window. .

“Normally the players have no problem with this hierarchy as it is either Rafa or Domi (Dominic Thiem) training at the best time on center court. Now they are allowed to train more. C ‘is really unfair if you look at it objectively, “doubles player Philipp Oswald, under strict quarantine, said

“But that’s the balance that Tennis Australia has to manage. They wanted to please the best players to even come. I don’t know if all the players would have got on the plane if they had known that if the one of the 80 passengers had a positive case, they should be put in strict quarantine. I also don’t know if Rafa or Novak would have come if they had had the same hotel as us. “

Pable Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini, respectively world No. 15 and 17, have slammed the food served in quarantine. The world n ° 28 Benoit Paire has opted for a McDonalds delivery.

Men’s draw likely lost a draw card in the three-time major winner Andy Murray has tested positive for COVID-19 and stayed at home in London to self-isolate. Nicolas Massu, the coach of world No.3 and winner of the US Open Thiem, is another forced absent after recording a positive test.

World female No.16 Madison Keys has also withdrawn from the Australian Open after testing positive for coronavirus.

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