Australian Open Problems Mount as a Player Tests Positive
A player who was scheduled to take part in the Australian Open has tested positive for Covid-19. Tournament officials didn’t disclose the identity of the player, but this latest infection means that there are at least nine people who have contracted the virus and are now in quarantine in Melbourne.
Staging of the Tournament a Hotly Debated Topic
Australian Open organisers managed to negotiate with Australian authorities to have the first Grand Slam of the year take place at the beginning of this year. However, with problems starting to mount for both Australian Open participants and tournament organisers, it is debatable whether that decision was correct for many people.
The staging of the Australian Open this year was a hotly debated topic in Australia. The country has some of the lowest virus numbers out there. However, locals were worried that this might change with hundreds of players and staff landing in Australia.
This hesitation is understandable as Australians have had to deal with some stringent Covid-19 rules for almost a year now. In fact, a lot of Australian citizens abroad still aren’t able to return to their homes because of travel restrictions. That’s why they are a little irked when they see fifteen chartered flights bringing over 1,200 players, coaches, and officials to Australia all at once.
Two Weeks In a Hotel Room 24/7
At the time of writing, at least 72 players are self-isolating in their hotel rooms. They will be there for two weeks and will have to stay inside 24/7, while their rivals are training outside for up to five hours a day.
Tennis stars such as Kei Nishikori, Sloane Stephens, Angelique Kerber, and Victoria Azarenka are among the players who will have to stay in hotel quarantine for a fortnight.
They were unfortunate enough to have been connected to the five coronavirus cases that were reported soon after the chartered flights to Melbourne started arriving.
The first infected people to have touched down in Australia were on flights arriving from Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Doha. Tennis players and staff considered close contacts will now have to spend the government-mandated quarantine period of two weeks inside their hotel rooms.
Needless to say, the isolation has made lots of tennis players very disappointed. Some of them instantly took to social media to vent their frustration.
Yulia Putintseva tweeted that she didn’t understand how no-one told them that if one person on board was positive, the whole plane would need to be isolated. She went on to say that had she known that, she would have thought twice about coming to Australia.
Similarly, Sorana Cirstea from Romania said she thought she would only need to go to self-isolation if someone in her team tested positive.
Craig Tiley, the Australian Open director, said that he understood how some of the players felt. However, he outlined that the rules were explained to them clearly before they arrived. He said tournament officials had the player groups in cohorts and that there was always a possibility that if someone tested positive, others would have to go into 14 days of isolation.
Tournament to Go Ahead As Planned
Other players, however, were more understanding of the decisions Australian Open officials made. Alize Cornet deleted a tweet in which she said that the situation with the quarantine was insane and apologised to the Australian people for her tactless comment. She added that she had been made aware of what Australians had been through in the past year and how much they suffered. So, she regretted her first tweet.
And while the infected player’s identity is not revealed, it is safe to assume that won’t be the only instance of a coronavirus-related withdrawal from the tournament. However, sports betting fans shouldn’t worry that the tournament won’t take place. Australian Open officials are well-equipped to deal with these disruptions, and the first Grand Slam of the year will likely continue according to plan.