The positive cases that emerged on charter flights to Melbourne have certainly not facilitated the task of the organizers of the Australian Open 2021, which will start on February 8th after all players have completed the quarantine.
As many as 72 tennis players were placed in solitary confinement without the possibility of training for two weeks, a drastic measure which - combined with the privileges guaranteed to the top three in the world ranking - have generated enormous controversy in recent days.
ATP number 1 Novak Djokovic tried to ask for a relaxation of the protocol by sending a letter to Craig Tiley, but his initiative ended up further fueling public hatred. In an interview with radio station Mix 102.3 last Friday, the 17-time Grand Slam champion said he felt lucky to have received special permission from the authorities to travel to Australia.
In fact, we recall that 37,000 Australian citizens are still waiting to return to their country.
Novak Djokovic: "We are privileged"
"There has been a great deal of debate in recent weeks as to whether it was right for tennis players to be allowed to travel to Australia.
There are many people who have not yet been able to reunite with their family members and who are waiting for permission to return to Australia. We have been privileged as we have been granted special permission to play the tournament.
My heart goes out to all the people who are suffering. I hope that this situation will be resolved soon and that we can all return to our usual life," said the Serbian champion. The eight-time Australian Open champion also admitted he can't wait to get back on the court: "I love being here.
The passion for sport that exists in this country is impressive. We hope we can guarantee a good time on the tennis court in both Adelaide and Melbourne. The goal is to bring people a pinch of positive energy in this complicated moment.
I fully understand the frustration of so many people." The tennis world is currently at a standstill waiting to resume and the first major event of the season is the ATP Cup, a competition that will take place from February 1st (until 5th) and which will involve most of the best tennis players on the circuit: Novak Djokovic will defend the title with his Serbia and was drawn in Group A with Alexander Zverev's Germany and Denis Shapovalov's Canada.