The Australian Open is just a few weeks away, but due to COVID-19 protocols, players that plan to participate in the tournament are already arriving and quarantining in the continent. Those protocols are not sitting well with the top ranked men’s player in the world and former head of the ATP Player Council, Novak Djokovic.
According to reports, Djokovic as issued a series of demands to Australian Open director Craig Tiley related to the COVID-19 protocols. According to tennis journalist Fernando Murciego, the tennis star’s list of demands includes:
Fitness and training material in all rooms
“Decent food,” according to the level of the tournament and from an elite athlete
Reduce the days of isolation for the 72 isolated players, carrying out more tests that confirm that all are negative
Permission to visit your coach or physical trainer, as long as both have passed the PCR
If the previous proposal has the green light, that both the player and his coach are on the same floor of the hotel
Move as many players as possible to private houses with a court to train
On Sunday, 25 players were forced into quarantine due to the virus. That makes a total of 72 players that are slated to participate in the Australian Open that are forced to quarantine in their respective hotel rooms for the next 14 days. Those numbers are the results of three incoming chartered flights to Australia that yielded positive COVID-19 tests.
On Sunday, a fifth person, who flew from Doha into Melbourne, tested positive for COVID-19 following their arrival to the tournament on Saturday. There have been planes from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi that have also yielded positive COVID-19 cases.
Concerning Djokovic’s demands, Victoria premier Daniel Andrews responded as to why the Australian Open officials won’t be altering the rules.
“The rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else,” Andrews said. “There’s no special treatment here … because the virus doesn’t treat you specially. So neither do we.”
Djokovic, along with several other, tested positive for COVID-19 back in June after he organized the Adria Tour. No social distancing measures were enforced during the Adria Tour matches in Croatia and Serbia that Djokovic helped organize, even though players from all over the world travelled to participate in the events.