Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa has described her extended period of quarantine ahead of the Australia Open following a positive coronavirus test as the worst moment of her career, adding she felt abandoned by organisers.
Paula Badosa tested positive on her seventh day of hotel quarantine after previously complaining about having to spend time in isolation
Badosa said she has been forced to use water bottles as weights and do sit-ups in her room as she can not access exercise equipment
She says she will be unable to prepare for the tournament if she cannot leave quarantine on January 31
If she is found to have been infected with one of the mutated strains of coronavirus, be it from the UK, South Africa or Brazil, Badosa will only return to training on February 5, which the Spaniard believes will be too late to regain her fitness for the year’s opening grand slam.
The tournament, which has been delayed by three weeks due to disruption caused by the pandemic, takes place from February 8-21.
Australian Open organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.
Badosa, who said she had been suffering from anxiety and claustrophobia, has been limited to doing sit-ups in her hotel room and using water bottles as weights to try to stay in shape.
The 23-year-old added that the room, which she is sharing with coach Javier Marti, was not suitable for an elite athlete.
“The conditions here are lamentable, I wasn’t expecting that. The number one thing people recommend when you have the virus is to open the windows to let in air, but I don’t have windows in my hotel room and it’s barely 15 metres square.”
“I have lost a lot of my fitness levels, especially my strength. If I can come out on January 31, I’ll have a week to get in shape. If it’s February 5, it’ll be impossible to recover in time [for the tournament],” Badosa said.
The Spaniard arrived in Melbourne after playing in Abu Dhabi earlier this month and was on her seventh day in quarantine when her test came back positive.
She was one of a group of players who complained on Twitter about having to quarantine in the first place, saying rules “changed overnight”.
However, she deleted the tweet after she tested positive, instead writing a post saying she “understands the sad situation we are living” and that “health will always come first”.
Ukraine tennis player Dayana Yastremska appears certain to miss next month’s Australian Open after her appeal against a provisional doping suspension was rejected.
The ITF says an independent tribunal denied Yastremska’s application to have her provisional suspension lifted
Yastremska provided a doping sample in November
She has been in hotel quarantine since arriving in Melbourne earlier this month
Yastremska, ranked 29 in the world, sparked controversy when she was filmed on a Tennis Australia charter flight to Melbourne for the Australian Open, despite testing positive to a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample.
The International Tennis Federation released a statement on Sunday saying an independent tribunal had denied the 20-year-old’s application to have her provisional suspension lifted.
It noted that decision was subject to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by Yastremska, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Ukraine’s anti-doping agency.
Yastremska, who has been in hotel quarantine since arriving in Melbourne earlier this month, provided her sample in November.
A WADA lab in Montreal found the presence of mesterolone metabolite, an anabolic agent on its prohibited list.
She has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, saying she believes the positive test is the result of a “contamination event”, and has vowed to clear her name.
“I’m astonished and under shock, particularly given that two weeks prior to this test … I tested negative at the WTA event in Linz,” Yastremska said in a statement earlier this month.
“After this last tournament of the year, I stopped practising to rest prior to the start of the new season.
“Only a very low concentration of mesterolone metabolite was detected in my urine. Given that low concentration and given my negative test two weeks earlier, I have received scientific advice that the result is consistent with some form of contamination event.”
Yastremska has won three WTA Tour titles and reached the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2019. She reached a career-high ranking of 21 in January last year.
She spent two weeks in self-isolation in Dubai after testing positive for COVID-19.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and WA Premier Mark McGowan say they do not support former tennis great Margaret Court being recognised with an Australia Day honour.
The tennis legend was the first Australian woman to win Wimbledon
Ms Court, 78, is now a reverend and has been outspoken on social issues
She was particularly opposed to same-sex marriage
Ms Court is set to be promoted to a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) — she is currently an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO).
In recent years, Ms Court has come under fire for her views on the LGBT community.
“I do not support that. I do not believe that she has views that accord with the vast majority of people across our nation, that see people particularly from the LGBT community as equal and deserving as dignity, respect and safety,” Mr Andrews said.
Mr McGowan, from Ms Court’s home state, said he did not agree with Ms Court being given the additional honour.
“I don’t share Margaret Court’s views, in particular around gay and lesbian people,” he said.
“I think extra Order of Australia awards should go to unsung heroes across the country and there’s a great many of them.”
The Order of Australia has four levels, of which Ms Court’s new status as a “Companion” is highest.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there was an “independent process” to decide who was honoured and that it was “a system that recognises the full spectrum of individuals across this country”.
Ms Court holds a record 24 grand slam singles titles and was the first female Australian to win Wimbledon in 1963.
The 78-year-old, who is now a reverend in Perth, wrote an open letter in 2017 saying she would boycott Qantas over its support of same-sex marriage.
“I teach what the Bible says about things and you get persecuted for it,” she said in an ABC interview last year.
In 2013, Ms Court wrote a letter to the editor in a newspaper lamenting the birth of Australian tennis player Casey Dellacqua’s child in a same-sex relationship.
“It is with sadness that I see that this baby has seemingly been deprived of a father,” Ms Court wrote.
Her honour was supposed to be revealed next week, but news of the decision broke this morning.
Last year, Ms Court was presented with a special trophy to commemorate 50 years since she won all four tennis majors — the Australian Open, French Open, US Open and Wimbledon — in 1970.
She has also been a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) since 1967, for her services to sport and international relations.
The International Tennis Hall of Famer’s 24 grand slams singles titles remain a record in the women’s game, although US legend Serena Williams has 23.
One of the main stadiums at Melbourne Park — home of the Australian Open — is named in her honour.
Mr Andrews said he would prefer not to be giving oxygen to Ms Court’s views.
“But I don’t give out those gongs, that’s not a matter for me, that’s for others,” he said.
“You might want to speak to them about why they think those views, which are disgraceful, hurtful and cost lives, should be honoured.”
His criticisms were echoed by Anna Brown, the chief executive of Equality Australia, who is also a member of the Order of Australia.
“From one recipient to another I hope that one day she sees Australia for the wonderful country that it is, and can be, when we recognise and value everyone who makes up our great nation equally,” Ms Brown said.
The Australian Christian Lobby says it supports the recognition of Ms Court in the Australia Day honours list.
In a statement, WA director Peter Abetz said: “If Australia Day Awards are only to be given to people who espouse politically correct views, it would destroy the very nature of these awards.”
After someone is nominated for the Order of Australia, staff in the Governor-General’s office research each candidate.
Once that is finished, the candidates are considered by the Council for the Order of Australia — an independent body of 19 members that has representation from each state and territory.
It’s not the first time the awards have caused controversy.
A decision to include men’s rights activist Bettina Arndt and journalist Mike Carlton in the Order of Australia last year were referred back to the Council in February.
The other players who are in hotel quarantine are due to leave at the end of next week.
Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton the extra time in quarantine was “an unfortunate consequence for anyone who becomes a case”.
If Badosa is found to have the UK strain, she will not be released from isolation until at least February 4, leaving her little time to prepare for the Australian Open, which begins on February 8.
People need to be symptom-free and meet other clinical criteria to leave the quarantine system, regardless of when they first tested positive.
Sutton defends ‘necessary’ hard quarantine measures
Badosa said in a since-deleted tweet that she had not been expecting to have to isolate, even if there had been a positive result on her plane.
“At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane,” she wrote.
“Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air.”
Professor Sutton said the approach of quarantining everyone on the three planes where there were positive cases was “entirely appropriate, and that’s been borne out by this.”
“It’s certainly proof that the hard quarantine measures were necessary, you do need to manage each and every case with a great deal of precaution,” he said.
On Friday morning, Badosa tweeted that she was “grateful for being in Australia” and that “quarantine & preventive measures are pivotal right now”.
She maintained she was complaining about “rules that changed overnight”, even though Tennis Australia has said all players were made aware of Victoria’s quarantine rules for close contacts.
Spain’s Royal Tennis Federation (RFET) overnight called for two players to be released from hard quarantine.
The statement said that the RFET “understand” the measures are taken for the good of everyone, but called for the confinement to be “compatible with the mental and physical health of the athletes”.
Premier Daniel Andrews would not say whether crowd allowances at Melbourne Park would change given Victoria’s run of days without a locally acquired case.
“We will always be guided by public health advice and we’ll strive to strike that difficult balance between making sure people can have something that is as close to normal as possible, but it has to be safe,” he said.
“We’re not going to see stadiums that are full, we’re not going to see, if you like, events that essentially pretend that this virus is gone because we desperately want it to.”
“We’ve got a process, we look at venues and events on a case by case basis and that’s served us well.”
International arrivals – particularly foreign students and seasonal workers – are expected to dominate discussions at Friday’s national cabinet meeting. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszscuk is also set to put forward her proposal to quarantine people in regional worker camps rather than CBD hotels.
Their comments come after Premier Daniel Andrews urged people not to attend a rally planned for Melbourne, as large gatherings are still banned under coronavirus rules.
Mr Andrews said now was not the time for protests. “This will be a different Australia Day; we’re in the midst of a global pandemic,” he said.
“It’s no time to be protesting, it just isn’t. We’ve built something precious and unique, Victorians have, through their sacrifice and their commitment and their compassion for each other and we have to safeguard that.”
On Thursday, three senior public health experts agreed that while the risk of an outbreak could not be ruled out, the danger would be minimal while there was no community transmission of COVID-19, and if precautions were taken by protesters.
“Given the direction we’re heading, with low transmission rates in the community and with high observance of appropriate precautions, the smoothest path may well be to allow protests within appropriate bounds,” University of Sydney infectious diseases expert Robert Booy said.
University of South Australia epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said: “There is risk in holding this protest, but it is quite minimal.”
La Trobe University epidemiologist Hassan Vally said: “The worst-case scenario is that there is a super-spreader in a huge crowd who could infect a lot of people that will all go back to different areas of Melbourne, and two weeks later we will have hundreds or thousands of cases. That’s our biggest fear.”
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A Spanish tennis player ranked in the top 70 who was forced to quarantine in her hotel room after potentially being exposed to coronavirus on an Australian Open charter flight says she has tested positive for COVID-19.
Paula Badosa says she has been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored
Badosa was among the 72 tennis players placed under a stricter lockdown in Melbourne
Tennis Australia has refused to identify those players, but several have posted on social media about being in the hard quarantine
Paula Badosa, a 23-year-old who reached the fourth round at last year’s French Open, wrote on Twitter that she received her test result on the seventh day of her hard quarantine, despite previously complaining about being forced to isolate.
“I have some bad news,” Badosa said in a post written in Spanish and English.
“Today I received a positive COVID-19 test result. I’m feeling unwell and have some symptoms, but I’ll try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors.
“I’ve been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored.”
Badosa was among the 72 tennis players who were placed under a stricter lockdown — unable to leave their hotel rooms at all for two weeks — after being on a flight with someone who tested positive upon arrival in Melbourne.
Tennis Australia has refused to identify those dozens of players, but several have posted on social media about being in hard lockdown.
Badosa complained about quarantine before testing positive
A number of players have been complaining of being placed into full isolation, including Badosa, who said in a since-deleted tweet that she had not been expecting to have to isolate, even if there had been a positive result on the plane.
“At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane,” she wrote.
Before the positive test became public, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) issued a statement in support of “each and every Spanish player who is currently suffering the consequences of confinement in Australia”.
The RFET said players had not been informed about the possibility of going into isolation based on a positive test on a plane, only if they returned a positive PCR test.
The statement said that the RFET “understand” the measures are taken for the good of everyone, but called for the confinement to be “compatible with the mental and physical health of the athletes”.
There were 17 tournament charter flights that arrived in Australia over three days last week.
Players and their entourages then needed to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine ahead of the tournament.
Main-draw play is supposed to begin February 8 at Melbourne Park.
As it is, that is a three-week delay to the start of the hard-court major championship because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Badosa was on a flight carrying players and others to Melbourne from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
She is ranked 67th in singles and lost in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open last January.
Her career-best grand slam singles showing came in October at Roland Garros.
Ten positive COVID-19 tests have now been recorded among people who have flown to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament, including two players whose results were confirmed today.
Two players are waiting to see if their positive test results are deemed viral shedding
Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut has apologised for comparing hotel quarantine to jail
Lead-in events could be adjusted to allow for players who were unable to train
Victoria’s Police Minister, Lisa Neville, said one of those new cases was a player who is in hard lockdown, and authorities believe their infection is not active, but shedding.
Ms Neville said another player and one of their support team have also tested positive and are unable to train until authorities can determine the status of their infections.
“In the meantime, the player, the support person and their bubble — so the other support person and player they’re with — will not be training until we have a final confirmation that they are shedding or that they are positive,” she said.
If they are positive, the player and their support person will go into the health hotel and their training partner and their support person will enter a hard quarantine as close contacts of a confirmed case, Ms Neville said.
The three new cases whose test results were received by the Victorian Government today will be reported in the official coronavirus numbers tomorrow, Ms Neville said.
Earlier, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said the hotel quarantine system was working well.
“We’re in our sixth day and so far our numbers have been extremely low and if they are active cases they go straight to the medi-hotel,” he said.
Paramedics this morning responded to a medical emergency at the View Hotel, where many tennis players have been quarantined.
Ambulance Victoria said one person was taken to hospital in a stable condition, but did not reveal whether the person was connected to the tennis.
Player complaints still occupying Tennis Australia’s time
Tennis Australia has devoted considerable time to dealing with a vocal minority of players who have continued to complain about conditions in hotel quarantine.
Spanish player Roberto Bautista Agut issued an apology after he likened conditions in quarantine to being in jail, in a video he said was released without his consent.
In the video, Bautista Agut was critical of the Victorian Government, saying the quarantine arrangements were “a complete disaster”.
He later issued a statement saying it was a private conversation taken out of context and released to the media without his knowledge.
Russian player Yulia Putintseva drew criticism yesterday for an Instagram post in which she was seen holding a protest sign in her hotel room.
Putintseva later continued to complain about cleanliness standards, posting videos of mice in her hotel room.
Police Minister Lisa Neville said Ms Putintseva was moved to a different room in the hotel, and she understood the player had been feeding the mouse.
“We don’t send cleaners into those rooms … so every tennis player needs to clean their own room and change their own bed if they want to do that,” she said.
“I’d just encourage them to minimise interaction with the mice, we will keep doing pest control if we need to, but hopefully that pest control work that was done this week will have fixed the problem.”
Mr Tiley said Tennis Australia had to remind players that their complaints may not be well received in Melbourne.
“We’re doing the best we can to ask the players to be respectful of the Victorian community, who’ve been through a really tough time over four months of a lockdown, and paid significant prices in loss of life and also in jobs,” he said.
“It’s just one of those environments that we have to every single day talk to the players and ask them to respect that position.
“I believe the majority of them are, it’s just a select few that are not there yet.”
British player Johanna Konta spoke up during a conference call with hundreds of players earlier this week, urging them to be mindful of local sentiment and keep their complaints private.
She told Channel Nine that emotions were running high during the first few days of quarantine, and players were simply anxious about how they would perform after two weeks in a hotel room.
“A big part of that frustration for these players will be how well will they be able to perform and I think that just comes along with being a professional athlete and sometimes rationale doesn’t come into it,” she said.
“The reason we are here is to put on a show for the people of Australia, the people of Melbourne, and also the world stage.”
Quarantine bill to be paid in full by Tennis Australia
Ms Neville estimated the cost of quarantining players ahead of the Australian Open would run into the tens of millions of dollars, and said the bill would not be paid by the Government.
Earlier today, Mr Tiley suggested to Melbourne radio station 3AW that the Victorian Government would help out with quarantine costs, but could not say how much they would contribute.
“Well that’s still to be determined — perhaps next week or the week after we’ll know that, whatever the quarantine costs end up being,” he said.
Mr Tiley said Tennis Australia had exhausted its $80 million dollar cash reserve and had taken out a loan to fund the costs associated with player flights and hotel quarantine, but Ms Neville said his claims about taxpayers funding part of the bill were not correct.
“Hotel quarantine for the Australian Open is fully funded by Tennis Australia. I’ve triple-confirmed that again today [after seeing that information], it is fully funded by the Australian Open,” she said.
She said while the Government supported the Australian Open “as an event”, as it does with all big events, the additional cost of the quarantine arrangements was being funded by Tennis Australia.
“The taxpayer is not contributing to the [Australian Open] hotel quarantine program,” she said.
Tennis Australia is yet to reveal whether allowances will be made in its schedule for the 72 players in hard quarantine, but Mr Tiley hinted that could be a possibility.
“I think how we can adjust is what happens in the lead-in events, how many lead-in events we have and when we start and what the schedule is for those players who need more time,” he said.
The Victorian government has rejected Tennis Australia’s claim that taxpayers will be footing part of the bill for Australian Open hotel quarantine.
Police Minister Lisa Neville, who is overseeing hotel quarantine, said the bill would instead be “sent straight back to Tennis Australia” after CEO Craig Tiley’s earlier remarks on Wednesday that the government would “absolutely” pay for part of the Aussie Open quarantine program.
“I did see Craig Tyler‘s comments, but I want to be very clear that hotel quarantine for the Australian Open is fully funded by Tennis Australia,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’ve triple confirmed that again today.”
Ms Neville said plans for the state government to pay for the quarantine scheme had never been a part of pre-tournament negotiations.
“We are asking, for example, Australians who returned to contribute to the hotel quarantine costs, so it seemed appropriate to us that also tennis players, or the association, should contribute to their hotel costs,” she said.
About 1200 players and staff who are in Australia for the tournament are completing 14-day stays at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, the View on St Kilda Road, and the Pullman hotel in Albert Park.
Mr Tiley earlier on Wednesday said quarantining players and staff would cost more than $40 million, with the state government “absolutely” chipping in.
But he did not know how much the government contribution would be.
“That’s still to be determined because we’re still in the middle of that. Probably the end of next week or the week after we’ll know exactly,” he told Neil Mitchell.
“These quarantining costs are new costs. The state government is supporting us in that.”
Three more people associated with the Australian Open returned positive coronavirus results on Wednesday morning.
Among them was a player believed to not be infectious but shedding the virus. They will still be required to lockdown.
It brings the total number of positive COVID-19 cases associated with the Australian Open to 10.
The tournament is scheduled to start on February 8.
Positive infections as a result of dead virus shedding is threatening to throw the Australian Open into chaos, with several cases already reclassified.
It comes as another three COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine were linked to the tennis overnight.
But Premier Daniel Andrews flagged “a number have been reclassified as shedding” rather than being actively infected.
“That’s the key point – are they reclassifications that affect more than just the person who has been reclassified,” he told reporters on Tuesday morning.
“Do they, in fact, take a cohort out of the hard lockdown? That’s not necessarily the number one concern. The number one concern is, in fact, the likelihood of other positive cases.
“So if you’ve got say 30 people who are deemed a close contact because they’ve been on a plane with a case, and the case is no longer an active case but a historic shedding, well then, that would release those people from that hard lockdown.”
Mr Andrews said the chief health officer’s media release provided later on Tuesday would reveal “as much detail as it possibly can” about the reclassifications.
All charted flights carrying tennis players and their teams have now landed in Melbourne, with everyone on-board tucked away in hotel quarantine.
There have been no locally acquired infections across Victoria for 13 straight days. There are 34 active cases in Victoria.
The Australian Open is scheduled to start on February 8.
Nick Kyrgios joined former Davis Cup player Sam Groth in criticising Novak Djokovic after the Serbian world number one reportedly wrote to Australian Open organisers asking them to ease quarantine restrictions for players.
A Spanish tennis website reported that Djokovic wrote to Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley with a list of “demands”, asking for reduced isolation periods and having players moved to “private houses with tennis courts”.
Djokovic’s management team did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Kyrgios criticised Djokovic repeatedly in 2020 for organising the Adria Tour exhibition event in the Balkans, where multiple players including the top-ranked Serbian contracted the virus.
“Djokovic is a tool,” Kyrgios, ranked 47th in the world, said on Twitter.
Djokovic, who opted to rent a private house instead of staying at a hotel during the 2020 US Open, is among top players who are serving their mandatory quarantine in Adelaide before travelling to Melbourne for the year’s first grand slam.
Djokovic, who set up the breakaway Professional Tennis Players’ Association last year after resigning as the head of ATP’s Players Council, was looking to gain popularity, said Australian Groth.
“Is he serious? It’s a selfish political move to gain popularity,” he wrote in his Herald Sun column.
Groth also pointed to the criticism Djokovic received for organising the Adria Tour in June.
“To suggest players should have shorter quarantine isn’t only ridiculous, it’s insulting to Australians that have had to endure it,” Groth added.
Meanwhile, Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend, Vanessa Sierra, drew flak from Kyrgios after complaining that the food served at their quarantine hotel room was cold, and grumbling about having to wash her own hair.
“This is the worst part of quarantine,” Sierra said on her YouTube channel.
“I don’t wash my own hair. I’ve never washed my own hair. It’s just not something that I do. I normally have hairdressers that do it twice a week for me.
“This is the situation that we’re dealing with. I can’t wait to get out of quarantine just so I can get my hair done.”
The 25-year-old Kyrgios, who has railed at tennis players who have breached COVID-19 protocols since the start of the pandemic, was not amused.
“I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes,” Kyrgios said.
Players knew the risks: Sitak
New Zealand’s Artem Sitak has sympathy for players concerned about the risks of competing after two weeks stuck in their rooms, quarantining in hard isolation ahead of the Australian Open.
But the Russian-born doubles specialist says players were made aware they risked being put into quarantine before the tournament and he was going to make the best of the circumstances.
“Especially for singles players, if they have to come out and go play a singles match, it’s very difficult, it’s extremely difficult,” he said of players’ concerns.
“I hope for everyone that they’ll be fine and there will be no injuries. It could happen.
“But as I said in my [social media] post, we knew the risk we were taking and Australia being very, very strict with their rules concerning the virus … this was always a possibility.”
Georgian tennis player Oksana Kalashnikova is among those players confined to a hotel room and unable to practise for two weeks.
Speaking to ABC News Breakfast, Kalashnikova acknowledged other players who were able to train had an advantage over those like her in hard isolation.
“Of course we are not in the winning position in quarantine and obviously the other players will have an advantage because we can’t really have the same amount of hours of practice,” she said.
Along with the competitive disadvantage her relative lack of preparation poses, she said she is concerned about the possibility that her changed routine could also make her more prone to injury once she recommences her typical training load.
“For any human being, if you are not doing the same amount of workout you can’t just go in and jump in and do the same amount of hours [of training afterwards],” she said.
“Personally, talking about myself, I am just going to raise my hours slowly just to go with how my body feels [not to] overload it in the first days.”
Kalshnikova said the players knew they’d be faced with at least mild quarantine measures, and that she was happy to follow the rules and deal with the situation in front of her now.
But she does believe more time to prepare for the open may have been helpful to the players.
Still, she is trying to make the best of the situation by doing workouts to stay physically active in her room.
Psychological resilience may be key to success
Former player and Kooyong Classic tournament director Peter Johnston said staying physically active and healthy would be crucial to the Australian Open success of the players in hard isolation.
But he said the players who were able to show psychological resilience and embrace training in these restrictive conditions would also be the ones who ultimately had the most success on the court.
“The physical aspect has to be managed, as we’ve talked about, but it’s really the one whose been able to keep everything together in their own mind and stay positive that will have the best results,” he said.
He said players should be staying “mentally up” by keeping communication with people on the outside, as well as doing as much exercise as they can.
But he said getting that physical training for a sport like tennis would be a challenge in the confined space of a hotel room.
“Well it’s very restrictive in a sport like tennis, as you can see from what lengths they are going to, to actually try and find some way to try and maintain their touch and their fitness,” he said.
“I think diet is also another massive issue and they need to have as much available to them as they normally would have.”
There’s also the climate related adjustment for players to consider, having left colder climate for air-conditioned hotel rooms, away from the Melbourne summer weather .
“I’d be really hoping for a window that opens because you need to experience the fresh air. The conditions in Australia are so much more extreme than players who come from say, the northern hemisphere,” he said.
He said it would be difficult for those competing against players who had better preparations.
But he hoped the nine days between the end of the quarantine period and the start of the tournament would give them a chance to bridge that gap in preparation.
“I think the good news is there’s a week’s break after this quarantine period is over and in that time there’s a lot of playing opportunities,” he said.
“It’s not perfect but I think that does give players the chance to have the best possible preparation as they can manage before the Australian Open starts.
Adjusting to a difficult situation
Former Australian doubles champion Todd Woodbridge agreed that mental preparation would be key for players emerging from hard isolation into the tournament.
“They are not going to be perfect, but they are going to have to do everything they can,” he said.
“I think Tennis Australia is looking at getting bikes into their rooms so they can do their cardio work-outs, and small weights and they’ll all already have programs that they would’ve been doing in that space anyway.
“So it’s about who mentally is prepared to do all those things.”
Sitak is one player who is mentally adjusting to the situation.
He says his preparation was not completely upended by quarantine, and takes the perspective that there is not much else he can do in the circumstances he finds himself in.
“Everything that I did in the off-season … I had six very good weeks of training, it’s not completely ruined but it’s not the same now,” Sitak said.
“We’re going to have to ease into it a little bit because it’s not easy to be locked down for 14 days. But what can you do with the circumstances?”