"..I've always had visions of being able to travel with my family...of course that wouldn't be the case for Australia...I didn't want to be away from my family for that long...It wasn't an easy decision at all..."
John Isner has decided to chill and not compete at his 12th Australian Open. It would be five weeks players would have to be without their homes or family. Two weeks are taken up with quarantining in Australia before the Slam actually starts.
Most will be playing in a few events even before and after the Open starts. This may be functional for some players and tiresome for others. Rafael Nadal is going for his 2nd Melbourne championship but will be there without his coach of 5 years Carlos Moya.
He decided not to travel 'down under' saying: "..The Australian government is not authorizing separate travelling and arriving procedures at the beginning of the tournament. I will follow the tournament from home...due to the delicate situation that Spain is living with the virus," Moya frankly stated.
The quarantine of two weeks and playing the warm-up at Adelaide and then the Australian Open would total nearly 5 weeks of which players with families aren't wanting to relinquish being away that long from family. After missing out on nearly a year of competitive tennis, since recuperating from knee surgery, Roger Federer decided to take the home path too.
He was given the option of competing at his 22nd time appearance at the Australian Open and bring his family of wife and 4 children or miss the first slam of his career. The strict provisions of having them stay in a hotel room for 24 hours in two weeks under quarantine was a bit much for Federer's wife and he to endure.
"Roger has decided to not play the 2021 Australian Open," Tony Godsick, his agent has said.
Federer will return on tour after the Melbourne slam is over.
Most of the WTA players at this time will be there at Melbourne except for Belinda Bencic who cites not only too stringent circumstances and quarantine modes but no transparency at the beginning on the exact date the Australian Open would begin which is not slated for February 8-21.
She withdrew from Abu Dhabi and the Australian Open as well as will miss the Adelaide International event. There are players who have COVID testing situations who would love to compete at Melbourne but can't because of the virus and many who won't leave their families for weeks to be there.
All are already looking forward to pre-COVID times when things were simpler and less stressed. Could that come in a matter of months or by the middle of the season? Everyone hopes so.