The atmosphere in Melbourne is already hot, with controversy skyrocketing due to the thousand, albeit justified, precautions that the organizers and the Victorian health authorities have imposed on the participants. Covid-19 always hovers over everything and it hits as soon as it can, so much so that today another 25 tennis players have joined the 47 already in strict isolation for having traveled with infected people.
They were on a charter from Doha where, it turned out only on arrival, there was a positive person not part of their group. In this situation, tournament director Craig Tiley tries to keep the bar straight by confirming, as he did today, that the first round of the Grand Slam will begin as scheduled on February 8 and acknowledging the current difficulties and risks caused by the virus.
The h*ttest case is that of the 72 athletes who are forced to stay locked in their rooms in hotels for 14 days without being able to train. The 'cremà - see Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, but also Jannik Sinner, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka - was instead made to land in Adelaide in the more peaceful and isolated Adelaide, increasing the discontent.
The number 1 in the world, however, has lent a hand to the most unfortunate colleges, sending a letter to the director Tiley making specific requests. Among these, the reduction of days of total isolation after a negative tampon or even moving to private homes equipped with a training field.
Philipp Oswald, a 42-ranked doubles player, recently spoke out against the seemingly imbalanced rules in place for the 2021 Australian Open.
Oswald on the 2021 Australian Open
Philipp Oswald confirmed what many had suspected all along: that Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem have been allowed to travel with more than the stipulated two-member support team.
Additionally, Oswald revealed that the top 3 also have a gym in their facility - a comfort not afforded to the players staying in Melbourne. "I'm not there, of course, but I know there has been a lot of discussion in the player chat," Oswald said.
"Conditions are much better in Adelaide. First, players were allowed to take a lot more staff with them. Medvedev and Zverev, for example, were only allowed to take two people with them, while Thiem, Nadal and Djokovic each came with 10 people.
They also have a gym in their hotel. So they don't have to do their fitness exercises during the five-hour period. You only have the five hours to play tennis. There was a huge discussion and the other players were also upset."
Rafael Nadal is believed to be traveling with five members of his team, which is more than what other players have been allowed. Francisco Roig (coach), Rafael Maymo (physio), Sebastian Nadal (father), Carlos Costa (agent) and Benito Perez Barbadillo (PR Manager) have all reportedly traveled to Australia with the World No. 2.