"These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts...It's a complete disaster...I cannot imagine staying two weeks like this..." Roberto Bautista Agut, the ATP's 13th ranked player, disgustingly said.
He was one of too many players going through quarantine after having the bad luck of being on a flight with a COVID-19 infected person. Everyone had to think of a creative method to practice in their room since going outdoors to practice like their Adelaide or other Melburne comrades was forbidden.
72 players thus far (at press time) were in quarantine between the three infected flights from Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Doha. They face rigid restrictions all day. Many players resorted to practicing their strokes against a mattress laying up on the wall, while others sharpened their reflexes running around small directional cones; still other choose to run laps in their compact rooms.
Whatever the situation the players are stuck with doing anything creative to get over the 14-day quarantine madness. Practicing may come secondary if stress builds and space to workout is totally limited. Video and card games may be the 'go to' for some, whereas others try to catch up on programmed movies and televison shows.
Making good of a bad situation is not the challenge players like to take
"Why no one ever told us, if one parson on board is positive the whole plane needs to be isolated...I would think twice before coming here," Yulia Putintseva, the WTA's 28th ranked player shook her head in disagreement.
All players are running high on frustration as their quarantined time seems to be ticking off too slowly. "These are high-performing athletes, and it is hard to keep a high-performing athlete in a room," Craig Tiley fo Tennis Australia commented during an interview with Nine Network media.
One thing that all agree on is that the tennis community knows this and wonders why it had to be done with such strict confines for so long. As for their lucky comrades not on an infected flight they have 5 hours to be out to practice on court, a few hours in a gym and then an hour to eat.
They consider themsevles the most fortunate but the quarantine living still sucks big time and all can't wait to get on the court in competition again. It's not so much the prize money but to also see if their inventive way of practicing and gathering their mental stamina has been a success.