The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, has rejected World No 1 Novak Djokovic’s list of demands for players ahead of the Australian Open.
Djokovic, who co-founded the breakaway Professional Tennis Players’ Association last year, issued a list of six demands for the 72 players forced into strict quarantine on Sunday.
Three of the 15 chartered flights landing into Melbourne for the Australian Open had one, or more, people test positive for the virus. According to the government rules, it meant that the entire plane load was sent into a 14-day strict quarantine.
These players will not be allowed the allotted five hours of practice or training and will have to remain confined to their rooms. A lot of players have complained that they were not aware of this rule and staying in the hotel room for 14 days is not the ideal preparation ahead of the Grand Slam.
Grand Slam champions Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova and former top-10 player Kei Nishikori are among the players stuck in strict quarantine.
Djokovic, who is in a separate bubble in Adelaide, has made these demands on behalf of the 72 players:
– Fitness and training material in all rooms
– Decent food for all players, after a number of players complained about their food on day one of quarantine
– Fewer overall days of isolation for the players hotel quarantine, while also carrying out more COVID tests
– Permission for players to visit their coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed COVID tests
– Permission for players and coaches to be on the same floor of the hotel, if they pass COVID tests
– Relocation of many tennis players as possible to private houses with a court for their isolation period
Emma Cassar, the Victoria Commissioner, outright rejected the demands. “It’s a firm NO from me,” Cassar told Radio 3AW.
Andrews also dismissed it saying the players were told about all the rules and protocols before they made the trip to Australia.
“Well, people are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no, and that was very clearly put,” Andrews said.
“So the notion that there’s been any change, the notion that people weren’t briefed – I think that that argument really has no integrity whatsoever, and don’t just take my word for it.
“You’ve got other players, who I think on social media and in other forums have made it clear that they were clear on the rules. And I probably can’t be any plainer than that.”