The first Major of the season starts on February 8 in Melbourne, and both the players and organizers have to deal with numerous coronavirus issues right after the landing! The players began to gather in Melbourne a couple of days ago, and the first coronavirus tests started to emerge on Saturday.
As it turned out, three persons from two different flights (Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi) have tested positive, putting 47 players into two-week isolation without leaving a room or even stepping on the practice court! Bianca Andreescu, Belinda Bencic, Maria Sakkari, Victoria Azarenka, Kei Nishikori, Marta Kostyuk, Paula Badosa, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Pablo Cuevas, Vasek Pospisil and Sloane Stephens are among them, and it is safe to say they are not pleased at all.
By some information, no one will be able to train in Melbourne until Tuesday, and the organizers have been doing their best to control the situation and prepare for the next moves. On the other hand, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are safe in Adelaide, with Nadal and Williams entering the practice court earlier today.
That's another twist in this challenging tale, and the players who have to stay in Melbourne are not particularly happy with the double standards that the organizers implemented. "One person on the flight I was on from Abu Dhabi tested positive.
So now everyone else who was on that flight has a 14 day quarantine where we are NOT allowed out our rooms. The same happened on one of the chartered flights from Los Angeles. Two flights so far," Heather Watson wrote.
Nothing is working the way the organizers would want at the moment in Melbourne.
"I know, and we are also playing by the rules and doing the 14 days quarantine ourselves, with just 5 hours outside per day, safe and supervised, in order to work and be ready for the AO coming up.
I just think that these measures are not made to hold an international tennis event," Alize Cornet wrote. "One positive COVID-19 test has been returned from a passenger on a charter flight into Melbourne from Abu Dhabi in the past 24 hours.
There were 64 people on the flight, including 23 players. All passengers from the flight are already in quarantine hotels and the positive case, who is not a player and had tested negative before the flight, has been transferred to a health hotel.
The 23 players on the flight will not be able to leave their hotel room for 14 days and until they are medically cleared. They will not be eligible to practice," Australian Open organizers stated.