Even as Tennis Australia is trying to manage the logistical colossus that the Australian Open is, players who have flown in from all around the world on charter flights have already started quibbling.
On Saturday, 47 players, including the likes of Angelique Kerber, Victoria Azarenka and Kei Nishikori, were forced into a strict quarantine as there were positive cases on two of the flights that landed in Melbourne – one from Los Angeles and the other from Abu Dhabi.
A lot of the players are complaining about the strict protocols and that they were not informed that the entire plane load will be put into strict quarantine in case there is a positive case. The harder quarantine means players cannot leave the room, not even for the five hours of practice and training per day that was agreed upon.
I agree…if they would have told us this rule before i would not play Australia…I would have stayed home. They told us we would fly at 20% capacity, in sections and we would be a close contact ONLY if my team or cohort tests positive . https://t.co/kF58HEijqq
— Sorana Cirstea (@sorana_cirstea) January 16, 2021
Kazakh player Yulia Putintseva tweeted, “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.”
Romania’s Sorana Cirstea said, “People complaining we are entitled. I have no issues to stay 14 days in the room watching netflix. Believe me this is a dream come true, holiday even. What we cant do is COMPETE after we have stayed 14 days on a couch. This is the issue,not the quarantine rule.”
Kiwi doubles player Artem Sitak, however, posted a video on Instagram refuting the claims and said that organisers had informed the players of all the risks they would be undertaking if they wanted to go to Australia and play in the Melbourne major.
No I am not (for now as we await our result) on one the 'infected planes' but it is fair to say that or everyone should quarantaine for 2 weeks or Aus Open should be pushed back by a week.. 2 weeks in a hotel room without any practice is insane for those players
— Kirsten Flipkens (@FlipperKF) January 16, 2021
“We had a call with Tennis Australia about a month ago,” said Sitak. “And not a lot of players were on that call, which was surprising to me.
“Tennis Australia and the organisers told us the risks that we were going to be undertaking and they did mention that if somebody tests positive on the flight it will be upto the health authorities to decide whether they want to quarantine the whole flight or isolate compartments of the plane.”
“I think we need to put some things into perspective,” the 34-year-old added.
“Lot of Australians, right now, cannot get back home because restrictions and all that and we as foreigners, over a 1000 people, are here in Australia, we are going to be competing in a Grand Slam, earning a lot of money. The amount of work Tennis Australia put in to organize all this is absolutely insane. So we are still lucky to be here.”
Players complaining about their lunches and then there’s Benoit… pic.twitter.com/G25p7AvBYu
— monse 🤍 Buenos días 😁 (@coachdal) January 16, 2021
Meanwhile, there have also been complaints from players about the food they are being served in quarantine. Pablo Carreno Busta and Fabio Fognini, among others, have put up pictures of their lunch boxes, unhappy with what they have received.
Former British player Mark Petchey, from an unverified twitter account, has slammed the players for their poor attitudes.
“Good look while the world descends further into a pandemic, jobs, businesses and lives being lost on a catastrophic scale. You are being put up for free. Going to make a minimum of $100,000 and can order UberEats etc. Beggars belief,” he tweeted.