'There was a big fight for the privileges of Rafael Nadal and Djokovic', says ATP ace

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'There was a big fight for the privileges of Rafael Nadal and Djokovic', says ATP ace

With a little delay compared to the previous days, the daily update of the health department of the state of Victoria arrived, and compared to yesterday, three new cases of positivity to COVID-19 have been recorded, we read on 7News.

The identities of the people involved were not disclosed but they made it known that one positivity concerns a staff member following a tennis player, another positivity is that of a man in his 40s who is a member of the plane's crew, and the last is an international passenger in his 50s who was returning to the country.

All three people were already in the hotels used for the strict quarantine (the ones that are currently hosting the 72 tennis players in solitary confinement). The total number of infected people linked to the tournament now rises to 10.

Among them, as stated in the Australian newspaper The Age, there are two tennis players whose names are not known - news that we remember was denied yesterday by Tennis Australia - but it is suspected that one of them, a man, has overcome the infection and has only a low viral load therefore not contagious.

It should also be noted that, as explained in detail here, "very sensitive" tests are used for the checks carried out on the Australian territory. The top players at this year's Australian Open - most notably Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka - have all been quarantining in Adelaide instead of Melbourne.

Caruso on a potential boycott

Several other players have been claiming all along that this is akin to giving preferential treatment to the big stars, and now tournament director Craig Tiley has admitted as much. "I get the feeling it is perceived as preferential treatment," said Tiley.

"But they're the top players in the world. My general rule is if you're at the top of the game, a Grand Slam champion, it's just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal." Jeremy Chardy had initially questioned the advantages afforded to the top players who 'already had privileges'

And following the positive cases, Italian player Salvatore Caruso even hinted at a potential boycott from the players. "There was a big fight for the privileges of the top 3 (Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem), so let's not fool ourselves - they are important privileges.

We are all in the same boat and should have the same chances of preparing for a Grand Slam. These things shouldn't happen," Caruso said. "The players have the power to boycott, it's our only weapon, but getting everyone to agree is difficult because we are a hundred heads."