The Australian Open COVID-19 Edition

Staff Writer: Molly McWethy

This year’s Australian Open is going to look a little different this year due to COVID-19 and there have already been positive tests on all three of the charter flights there. The tournament director, Craig Tiley, has said that the tournament will not be delayed any further and is scheduled to start of Feb. 8. 

Players like Novak Djokovic, Alize Cornet and Roberto Bautista Agut have expressed their frustrations and made “suggestions.” High school tennis player Caroline Lund said, “I think that the situation isn’t ideal and it’s completely understandable to see why the players would be frustrated, but at the end of the day it’s really what is best. Australia is doing really well with controlling their COVID cases right now so what they are will probably work, so overall it’s a really good way to still have the tournament even though not everything is perfect.” 

There was an initial reaction by some players to the hotel quarantine by Melbourne citizens due to the fact that they have gone through a three-month lockdown and now non-citizens are being let in. 

Another high school tennis player in the state, Sydney Annis, said, “I think that even though the quarantine is annoying to have to deal with, it is very much important as the corona virus can be easily transmitted by traveling. The players should be grateful that they are still able to have grand slam tournaments during this situation, and it is a privilege to be able to play worldwide in a global pandemic, so they need to respect having to quarantine for the well-being of themselves and others.” 

Serbia's Novak Djokovic stands on the balcony at his accommodation in Adelaide, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley defended Djokovic for appealing to Australian Open organizers to ease restrictions so players could move to private residences with tennis courts.

Novak Djokovic looking over his hotel balcony in Adelaide, Australia.

Photo Credit: Eyewitness News

Some Australian citizens still have not been let into their own country and now the tournament is letting outsiders in which is also causing an uproar. Fellow high school tennis player Kristen Taylor, pointed out, “I was not aware that they were letting players into Australia but not Australians. That really shows how important social stature is, but I feel that tennis players and even people who just watch tennis on a daily basis should appreciate the fact that we are still able to watch and enjoy tennis and that players are still able to play. I don’t think quarantining right before a tournament should impact the players in a negative way coming from a person who plays in multiple tennis tournaments and has had 8am matches, you’re not always going to be able to prepare the way you want but that is why tennis is such a great sport because it is more mental and so there are other ways for players to get ready for a match and still be successful even though they have been in quarantine right before the match.”

Australian Open players warned to behave during quarantine as fourth  arrival tests positive for coronavirus

Stan Wawrinka arriving at his hotel in Melbourne.

Photo Credit: SBS News

Players like Sabrina Santamaria and Caty McNally have been keeping their followers updated with the quarantine life in Australia. They have shown pictures of secluded courts with personal gyms on the side of the court so they can stay in shape and prepare for the tournament.

I think that overall players are making the best of the situations and getting through this to play the game they love.

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