Tennis

Quarantine woes at Australian Open

A total of 72 players will have to spend two weeks in quarantine before the Australian Open, as Covid-19 continues to disrupt preparations for the year's first Grand Slam.

Earlier yesterday, 47 players had to be confined to their rooms for 14 days in Melbourne and barred from training - after coronavirus cases were reported on the two chartered flights they were on.

Then, 25 players who had flown from Doha to Melbourne also had to be quarantined, after a fellow passenger tested positive for Covid-19, having tested negative before the flight.

"There were 58 passengers on the flight, including 25 players. All are already in quarantine hotels," tournament organisers said on Twitter, referring to the flight from Doha.

"The 25 players on the flight will not be able to leave their hotel room for 14 days and until they are medically cleared. They will not be eligible to practise," the organisers added.

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley insisted yesterday, before the announcement that 25 more players were to be quarantined, that the tournament would begin as scheduled on Feb 8.

Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva, who is among the earlier batch of 47 who have been asked to self-isolate in their hotel rooms, has to contend with an unwanted roommate in the form of a mouse.

"Been trying to change the room for two hours already! No one came to help due to quarantine situation," Putintseva said on Twitter, along with a a video of the mouse in her room.

Some social media users have hit out at players complaining about having to strictly stay in hotels.

It prompted Romanian Sorana Cirstea to say: " I have no issues to stay 14 days in the room watching Netflix...

"What we can't do is compete after we've stayed 14 days on a couch. This is the issue, not the quarantine rule." - REUTERS, AFP

Tennis