The giant Australian Open logo is seen full of tennis balls ahead of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park(Getty Images)
The giant Australian Open logo is seen full of tennis balls ahead of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park(Getty Images)

Tennis players getting on with life in Australia

Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian Open in 2016, spent her birthday in quarantine on Monday. At times in the past, she's spent the day playing or preparing for matches in the later stages of the tournament.
AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 04:38 PM IST

With no way out, tennis players in lockdown are figuring out ways to keep themselves fit within the confines of their Melbourne hotel rooms as they prepare for the Australian Open.

Angelique Kerber, who won the Australian Open in 2016, spent her birthday in quarantine on Monday. At times in the past, she's spent the day playing or preparing for matches in the later stages of the tournament.

This year, with the season-opening Grand Slam event not starting until Feb. 8 because of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, she had to settle for a message posted on social media by Australian Open organizers to mark the occasion.

Kerber is among the 72 players doing hard quarantine for 14 days after five positive coronavirus tests were returned from charter flights that brought almost 1,200 players, coaches, officials and media to Melbourne for what has previously been dubbed the Happy Slam.

That means those players won’t be allowed to leave their hotel rooms or practice for 14 days, creating a two-speed preparation period for the tournament. Others in less rigorous quarantine will be allowed to practice for five hours daily.

Those outdoor sessions started Monday in Melbourne. A smaller group of players who landed in the South Australia capital of Adelaide, including Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, are also allowed outside to practice under bio-secure protocols.

Players such as Yulia Putintseva and Belinda Bencic initially complained in social media posts about being ill-informed of the quarantine rules but have found ways to practice indoors by hitting balls against walls and windows and setting up other unique sessions.

Some players have expressed anger at being classified as close contacts merely for being on board charter flights with people who later tested positive. But local government, tennis and health authorities have said all players were warned of the risks well in advance.

“There’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules. Well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came and that was a condition on which they came,” Victoria state premier Daniel Andrews said Monday. “There’s no special treatment here ... because the virus doesn’t treat you specially, so neither do we.”

Responding to unconfirmed reports that Djokovic, an eight-time Australian Open champion, had proposed a list of ideas to change the quarantine conditions for players, Andrews said: “People are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no.”

Australia’s international borders are mostly closed, although there are exemptions in special circumstances. All arrivals must do mandatory quarantine. Each of Australia’s states and territories has its own border and travel restrictions, and those can change on very short notice.

Victoria state, which has Melbourne as its capital, accounted for 810 of Australia’s 909 deaths from COVID-19, most of those during a deadly second wave three months ago which resulted in curfews and lockdowns for the city.

So there's been some debate locally about whether it's right to stage a Grand Slam tournament bringing in people from parts of the world where the coronavirus is still taking a big toll.

With that in mind, Australian health and government officials aren't taking any chances.

So far, three people from a Los Angeles to Melbourne flight have tested positive since landing in Australia and have been transferred to a medi-hotel, along with Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of 2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu, who flew in from Abu Dhabi, and another person who travelled from Doha, Qatar. All passengers on those three flights — including a total of 72 players — are in enforced hard quarantine. So far, no players have returned positive tests since arriving in Melbourne or Adelaide.

Players have been warned that breaching the rules could result in fines or being moved to a more secure quarantine complex with police stationed at their doors.

Victoria state COVID-19 quarantine commissioner Emma Cassar said over the weekend there would be “zero tolerance" for people trying to breach the rules.

“This is designed to make people safe,” said Cassar, who is also in charge of the state’s prisons. “We make no apologies for that.”

Being unable to leave their hotel rooms would mean the only workouts some players are able to have would be on exercise equipment left in the rooms.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley remains adamant the tournament will start Feb. 8, saying organizers would have to “manage an environment over the next 14 days for those who won’t be able to practice."

“It’s a tough situation," he said in a weekend television interview. “We’ve got to do whatever we can to make it as fair as possible for those players that are in lockdown.”

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
France's Benoit Paire.(REUTERS)
France's Benoit Paire.(REUTERS)

Paire spits on court, tanks and crashes out of Argentina Open

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 10:28 AM IST
World number 29 Paire, seeded third in the tournament, lost his temper over a line call when 2-0 down in the second set after a Cerundolo serve down the middle was judged an ace.
Close
India's Sumit Nagal(AP)
India's Sumit Nagal(AP)

Sumit Nagal registers biggest win of career, beats world No.22

By Rutvick Mehta
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 11:18 PM IST
  • The 23-year-old Indian earned the biggest victory of his career thus far, defeating world No. 22 and second seed Chilean Cristian Garin 6-4, 6-3 in the second round of the ATP 250 Argentina Open.
Close
Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas plays a shot against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the second round men's singles match of the ABN AMRO world tennis tournament at Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (AP)
Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas plays a shot against Poland's Hubert Hurkacz in the second round men's singles match of the ABN AMRO world tennis tournament at Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands, Thursday, March 4, 2021. (AP)

Tsitsipas beats Hurkacz to reach Rotterdam quarters

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 11:14 PM IST
  • Tsitsipas will next face Russian player Karen Khachanov, who spent Thursday playing doubles after beating Cameron Norrie in the second round Wednesday.
Close
Belarus' Victoria Azarenka (REUTERS)
Belarus' Victoria Azarenka (REUTERS)

Top seeds Svitolina and Pliskova upset at Qatar Open

AP
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 10:42 PM IST
Azarenka held off a late comeback from top-seeded Svitolina, her doubles partner this week, to seal a 6-2, 6-4 win on her third match point.
Close
Romania's Simona Halep (REUTERS)
Romania's Simona Halep (REUTERS)

Halep pulls out of Dubai Tennis Championships with back issue

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 09:24 PM IST
World number three Halep, who also pulled out of this week's Qatar Open in Doha, has not played a competitive match since losing in straight sets to Serena Williams in the Australian Open quarter-finals last month.
Close
Sania Mirza(Twitter)
Sania Mirza(Twitter)

Sania ousted from Qatar Total Open

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 07:55 PM IST
Sania and her Slovenian partner lost 5-7 6-2 5-10 to America's Nicole Melichar and Dutch player Demi Schuurs in one hour and 28 minutes.
Close
India's Sania Mirza in action at the 2020 Hobart International. (Getty Images)
India's Sania Mirza in action at the 2020 Hobart International. (Getty Images)

Sania Mirza says Tokyo Olympics medal dream motivated her return

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 03:30 PM IST
Mirza, paired with Slovenian Andreja Klepac, reached the semi-finals in the women's doubles at the Qatar Open on Wednesday, her first tournament since Feb. 2020 when she played at the same Doha event.
Close
Britain's Andy Murray.(REUTERS)
Britain's Andy Murray.(REUTERS)

Murray sees silver lining in Rotterdam exit

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 04, 2021 01:23 PM IST
The 33-year-old Briton, who is currently ranked 123rd after sliding down the rankings due to two hip operations, was pleased that he had gone toe-to-toe with world number eight Rublev.
Close
A tennis racket and new tennis ball on a freshly painted tennis court(HT Archive)
A tennis racket and new tennis ball on a freshly painted tennis court(HT Archive)

Men's tennis tour tweaks rankings, prize money amid pandemic

PTI, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 09:28 PM IST
The ATP's announcement Wednesday also said some players will be allowed to bring more than two team members to tournaments on a first-come, first-served basis, easing a restriction put in place last year because of COVID-19.
Close
Sania and Andreja(Twitter)
Sania and Andreja(Twitter)

Sania-Andreja pair enter semifinals of Qatar Open

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 08:50 PM IST
Sania and Andreja made short work of fourth seeds Anna Blinkova and Gabriela Dabrowski 6-2 6-0 to reach the last four round.
Close
Russia's Daniil Medvedev(AP)
Russia's Daniil Medvedev(AP)

Medvedev, Zverev eliminated in 1st round in Rotterdam

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 08:43 PM IST
Medvedev had 25 unforced errors against Lajovic's 12, along with eight double faults, and he broke his racket in frustration. The third-ranked Russian last played Feb. 21 in his straight-sets loss to Novak Djokovic in the Australian Open final.
Close
United States' Frances Tiafoe (AP)
United States' Frances Tiafoe (AP)

Tiafoe tremendous in Buenos Aires opener

PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 03:59 PM IST
This was Tiafoe's first tour-level win on clay since the 2019 Mutua Madrid Open, where he made the third round. The 23-year-old faced a tough opponent in Bagnis, who advanced to the semi-finals at last week's Cordoba Open.
Close
Rohan Bopanna (R) and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi last played together in September 2014. (Getty Images)
Rohan Bopanna (R) and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi last played together in September 2014. (Getty Images)

The Indo-Pak Express is running again

By Rutvick Mehta, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 01:06 PM IST
  • Bopanna and Qureshi will renew their highly fruitful partnership - labelled popularly as the “Indo-Pak Express” - for the first time since 2014, signing up to play the ATP 500 Acapulco event beginning from March 15.
Close
Tennis - Davis Cup Qualifiers - Croatia v India - Dom Sportova Hall in Zagreb, Croatia - March 7, 2020. India's Rohan Bopanna reacts. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo(REUTERS)
Tennis - Davis Cup Qualifiers - Croatia v India - Dom Sportova Hall in Zagreb, Croatia - March 7, 2020. India's Rohan Bopanna reacts. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic/File Photo(REUTERS)

'Indo-Pak Express' to be back on Tour, albeit for just Mexico event as of now

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:33 PM IST
It will be first time that Bopanna and Aisam, known as 'Indo-Pak Express' will play together since they last competed at the ATP 250 event in Shenzen in 2014.
Close
India's Sania Mirza. File(Getty Images)
India's Sania Mirza. File(Getty Images)

Sania Mirza returns to WTA circuit with win in Doha with Klepac

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 11:15 PM IST
The Indo-Slovenian pair won 6-4 6-7(5) 10-5 against Nadiia Kichenok and Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine in the opening round of the WTA 500 tournament.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP