Roberto Bautista Agut likens hotel quarantine at Australian Open to prison

Tanya Simon
January 20, 2021

The number of Covid-19 cases linked to the Australian Open has increased to 10 and includes at least one player.

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.

"Yes, it's not an even playing field as far as preparation goes but we're going to play our part to try to even it up as much as possible", he said.

In contrast to men's world No.13 Roberto Bautista Agut who describes his lockdown as akin to being in jail, Azarenka is appealing for tennis stars to show understanding for what Victorians went through during a 112-day lockdown a year ago.

"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.

So why are players now locked in hotel rooms?

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".

"You can work in the room but it's not the same", he said.

Paramedics this morning responded to a medical emergency at the View Hotel, where many tennis players have been quarantined.

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"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.

The furor kicked-off after more than 1,200 players, coaches and staff arrived on 17 charter flights to prepare for the Australian Open, which starts February 8.

To convince the government they could hold the tournament safely, 17 chartered flights - 15 to Melbourne, and two to Adelaide- with 1,200 players and their limited entourages on board were arranged, with all travellers retested by the tournament organisers when they landed and tested every day thereafter for two weeks. Believe me this is a dream come true.

Two-time Australia Open champion Victoria Azarenka, who is reportedly among those impacted, issued a statement on social media asking for her fellow players to be more emphatic to residents of Melbourne, who had lived under strict lockdown measures past year.

Earlier, 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.

If we end up with Roger Federer winning, though, all will be forgiven.

"I've triple confirmed that again today after I saw that".

"Actually embarrassed to be a tennis player these days", tweeted Australia's Arina Rodionova, while two-time Australian Open victor Viktoria Azarenka asked her fellow competitors for "cooperation, understanding and empathy for the local community".

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