Most have gone through various levels of quarantine in order to play in Australia. But as the days have slowly ticked off, players are getting happy to soon be in a competitive event. "We are being told there is an opportunity of us having a decent crowd.
We haven't experienced that for many months..." the no. 1 British female player, Johanna Konta commented happily. She was one of the fortunate ones that didn't have to go into a severe lockdown. What was required is just to quarantine for 14-days and certain hours was allowed for practice, the gym and eating out in Adelaide.
"I am looking forward to the opportunity of playing..." Konta has known this feeling before as she'd nursed a recurring knee injury for quite a while. Other players, 72 to be exact didn't have it so easy back in Melbourne, since they had passengers on a total of 3 flights who tested positive for COVID-19.
They had to be in strict quarantine, not even leaving their room to exercise and train for 2 weeks. "Why no one even told us, if one person on board is positive the whole plane needs to be isolated...I would think twice before coming here," the WTA's 28th ranked Yulia Putintseva disgustingly said
As the days dwindle down from lockdown, players' spirits are getting uplifted.
India's Ankita Raina ranked in the top 120 is playing a waiting game to be a lucky loser as she'd flown from Doha and Dubai to Australia hoping to replace a main draw player who must withdraw.
If she's able to get her new status, she'll carve out history as the first Indian since 2012 to be in a Grand slam main draw. "I have my traveling coach with me. We even packed ready-made Indian gourmet food...we left for Dubai, we were ready to be in Melbourne," she said smilingly and feeling encouraged on having a great year ahead.
Ankita will know if she'll be a lucky loser by the February 4th draw. Czech player Petra Kvitova ranked in the WTA's top 10 has seen her share of injuries, accidents and not-so-good times. But she's realistic on the effect the Pandemic has done to people and clearly says that "..There are thousands of people who are losing their jobs...I am grateful that we can continue to compete."
Kvitova had seen her only final of last season at the Qatar Open against Aryna Sabalenka who captured the crown. "You can work[out] in the room but it's not the same," Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut said madly concerning the rough quarantine time in Melbourne.
He knows what it takes to get his game together after a career high of 9 titles and not much was worst than this. But no. 1 ATP's Novak Djokovic says that despite having it easier at the Adelaide lockdown still says "I miss being able to walk around...I'm just gonna run straight to the park..."
The Serb has won 2 titles before the Pandemic and 2 after the tour had resumed. He looks to the new season as being a possibly successful one despite the coronavirus outbreak he's experienced at his Atria tour. Australian native WTA's no.
1 Ashleigh Barty was caught breaking protocol by walking into a Melbourne supermarket without a mask. She apologized gingerly on forgetting to put one on. She's also going to prove that she can retain her No. 1 status of play by returning to the competition after a year of non-activity.
This is the first time on playing in a 'bubble' but admits with a bit of realism and humor that "It's been a unique year...a little bit of a tricky one...and I feel like we're ready to go..."