The quarantine controversy that tennis players are facing in Melbourne in view of the next Australian Open does not seem to subside. The latest news was the cancellation of all trainings scheduled before 15:30 Australian time due to problems with transport organized by the local government.
Many workouts, especially those in Flinders Park (not those in Albert Park) have been skipped. Players residing at the Grand Hyatt hotel were also notified of the canceled training sessions just one hour before the scheduled time.
Players feel frustrated with canceled training sessions as they have no idea when they will be able to return to the court. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated has published the letter sent by ATP to coaches and agents trying to explain the problem related to the issue of transfers between hotels and training grounds.
This is the content of the document: "We want to reassure you that we are constantly trying to improve conditions for players, where possible. We are aware that at the moment there are important problems for the players.
So far, the information provided to us is that the government-operated transportation system is creating difficulties, causing some training sessions to be canceled. Tennis Australia is working day and night to try to resolve the problem urgently.
Yesterday the ATP clamored for Tennis Australia to provide more support to those players who will unfortunately be forced to remain locked in their room for 14 days, as well as all other players." The problems that are occurring in Melbourne have highlighted the controversy over the alleged favoritism reserved for some tennis players with respect to rooms, services and food, for this reason the members of the Adelaide group would have been asked not to publish too many photos and videos of the training not to feed the controversy.
Naomi Osaka, for example, had to remove the video she took from this social media freeze frame. Players are coming from all over the world to prepare for the Australian Open 2021, a grand slam event that, like everything these days, will be overshadowed by the Covid-19 global pandemic.
The start of the tournament has already been postponed to February 8th due to quarantine restrictions and many are wondering if it should be canceled. Madison Keys has already retired after testing positive for the virus and former number one Andy Murray is in serious doubt after his diagnosis.
It is almost certain, given the skyrocketing infection rates in countries like Britain and the United States, that others will test positive after arriving here. Tennis Australia and the Victoria State government have responded by announcing what they say is a watertight hotel quarantine system.
A group of elite players will make their two-week stint at a special facility in Adelaide, while the rest will be housed in three Melbourne hotels. They will be supervised by a staff of 1,700 and will only be able to go out for five hours of practice per day at the Melbourne Park courts.
The next few weeks will require careful planning and vigilance, Tennis Australia must ensure that spectators and staff - ballboys, referees and hospitality operators - are protected from COVID. Hotel quarantine places have long been well below demand and the queue will only get longer after the national government's decision last week to cut the weekly limit for arrivals due to the higher risk posed by new strains of viruses.