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Australian Open organizers locked down 72 players under a COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. This lockdown was initiated after five positive coronavirus tests were returned from a charter flight that flew in almost 1,200 players, coaches, officials, and media to Melbourne.
Australian Open Preparation Protocols
This means that a two speed preparation period has been created for the open. Fourteen days for those who were on a chartered flight and tested positive, and others that were not on those chartered flights are in a less rigorous quarantine may practice outside for five hours daily.
The outdoor sessions started Monday with a smaller group of players that landed in the capital of Adelaide. Well known players such as Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka, Novak Djokovic, and Rafael Nadal are a part of that small group allowed to practice outside under the bio-secure protocols.
Other players such as Yulia Putintseva and Belinda Bencic complained in social media posts about not being informed before the quarantine rules. But they have found creative ways to practice indoors, hitting balls against walls and setting up other creative sessions.
Some players who were on those chartered flights with positively tested passengers expressed anger for being classified as close contact simply because they were on those flights. But the Australian Open authorities and health officials have stated that all players were warned of the risks in advance.
Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said:
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, There’s no special treatment here … because the virus doesn’t treat you specially, so neither do we.
Australia’s international borders are basically closed even though there are exemptions for special circumstances. Everyone that arrives in the country must submit to a mandatory quarantine.
So far, no Australian Open players have returned positive tests since arriving in Melbourne or Adelaide.
Written by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Associated Press: Lockdown: Tennis players getting on with life in Australia, JOHN PYE
CNN: US tennis player Tennys Sandgren boards plane to Australian Open despite testing positive for Covid-19, Ben Church
New York Post: Dozens of tennis players forced into COVID quarantine at Australian Open, Isabel Vincent
Featured and Top Image by Phil Whitehouse Courtesy of Wikimedia – Creative Commons License