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quarantined tennis players express their frustrations

The activities of Schwartzman and Cuevas in quarantine 1:07

(CNN) – Instead of training for up to five hours a day while preparing for the Australian Open, 72 players are unable to leave their hotel rooms under quarantine rules, and several of them have verbally expressed their frustrations. Some are not just frustrated. . Victoria’s covid-19 quarantine commissioner Emma Cassar said on Sunday that there were “a few people,” including one player, inside the Australian Open quarantine hotels who were “defying our procedures.”

The 72 affected players must be quarantined for two weeks and will not be allowed to leave their hotel rooms for the 14 day period and until medically cleared they are ineligible to practice.

“A player who opened his door to try to have a conversation with his sparring partner in the hall,” added Cassar. “The other was another gentleman who yelled something from Uber Eats to other people on the floor and praised himself for his great efforts and opened the door to do so.

“These are very low-level but very dangerous acts that we simply cannot tolerate,” Cassar said. One of the two people named was a player, and they have been warned, according to the commissioner.

Nine people linked to the Australian Open have tested positive for COVID-19, including an unidentified tennis player, according to Victoria State Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.

Andrews told a news conference Monday that those infected are “all safe in quarantine.”

Among those who have been diagnosed with the virus are a coach, a member of the broadcast team and the team that worked aboard the flights that brought the tennis players to Melbourne.

On Sunday, Australian Open organizers announced that another 25 players had been placed in quarantine hotels after a passenger on a flight from Doha to Melbourne that arrived on Saturday had tested positive for COVID-19.

“The passenger is not a member of the player contingent and tested negative before the flight,” the Australian Open said in a statement. “There were 58 passengers on the flight, including 25 players.”

Affected by lack of training

World No. 71 Sorana Cirstea said she understood the need to self-quarantine, but that not being able to train and practice would affect her ability to compete effectively at the Australian Open.

“People complain that we have a right,” Cirstea tweeted. “I have no problem staying in the room for 14 days watching Netflix. Believe me, this is a dream come true, even a vacation.

“What we cannot do is COMPETE after having spent 14 days on a sofa. This is the problem, not the quarantine rule.

“It would take at least 3 weeks later to get back in decent shape and compete at a high level!” Cirstea said in another tweet.

Speaking in response to player concerns on Monday, Victoria Premier Andrews said tennis players were briefed on the rules before coming to Australia.

That was the condition they came in. So there is no special treatment here … because the virus does not treat you especially, so neither do we, “he said.

Andrews said players are free to provide lists of quarantined special treatment demands, but the answer would be no.

Belinda Bencic echoed Cirstea’s observation that the competitive balance at the Australian Open, which is the first grand slam of the tennis season, could be affected with quarantined players at a significant disadvantage.

“We are not complaining about being quarantined,” tweeted Belinda Bencic. “We complain about uneven practice / playing conditions before quite big tournaments.”

In another tweet, the world’s number 12 said: “Wrong surface, but we don’t care about that.” The tweet was accompanied by a video of Bencic, racket in hand, gently tapping a tennis ball against his hotel room window.

However, a prominent former tennis star gave little thought to players complaining about the quarantine.

“I have opinions about these tennis players complaining about the quarantine situation here at OZ and for @AustralianOpen and they are NOT going to want to hear it from me.

“It has something to do with a minimum of $ 100,000, free flights, food and much more, do you want to talk to my children?” Rennae Stubbs, who won six Grand Slam doubles titles, tweeted. Now retired, Australian Stubbs works as a television expert and hosts the Racquet magazine podcast.

The position of the organizers

Meanwhile, Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley confirmed on Sunday that the tournament will continue next month.

“We will continue to do our best to make sure these players have what is not a great situation, one that is something acceptable,” Tiley told Australia’s Nine Network.

“We are reviewing the previous schedule to see what we can do to help these players.”

According to the Victoria State Government website on Monday there are 33 active cases in the region, with four acquired internationally and quarantined in the last 24 hours, none acquired locally in that time period.

Before the 72 players were quarantined, tournament organizers had said that the players would also “undergo a more rigorous testing program than most returning travelers.”

All must undergo a 14-day quarantine but are allowed out for five hours a day to train in strict biosecurity bubbles before a series of warm-up tournaments, all in Melbourne, in the week leading up to the Grand Slam.

Australia has had 28,708 covid-19 cases and 909 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.

Originally scheduled to start this month, the Australian Open was rescheduled from February 8-21 due to concerns about covid-19.

Sophie Jeong and Dan Kamal contributed to this report.

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