'Like a criminal': Australian Open player's fresh fury at officials

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Paula Badosa, pictured here in action at the French Open in 2020.
Paula Badosa in action at the French Open in 2020. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Paula Badosa has taken a fresh swipe at Australian Open officials, claiming she was treated like a “criminal” during her “horrible” hotel quarantine experience.

Last month the Spanish player described her time in hotel quarantine as the worst experience of her career, saying she felt “abandoned” by Australian Open organisers.

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The World No.67 was the first player to test positive for coronavirus upon arriving in Australia ahead of the tournament and she has been in quarantine in Melbourne along with about 70 other players.

The 23-year-old said she had suffered from anxiety and claustrophobia, and had to use water bottles as weights to try to stay in shape.

After being released from quarantine she apologised for her comments, only to double down again on Sunday.

“It was a nightmare,” Badosa told Spanish publication El Pais.

“They treated me as if I were a criminal, they transferred me from one hotel to another escorted by police officers.”

Badosa said officials should have been better prepared for positive cases.

“They should have raised better conditions to attend to the cases' knowing some players and support staff would test positive,” she added.

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Badosa had earlier lashes out after being transferred to a health hotel, away from her fellow players quarantining.

“I feel abandoned because I don't have training equipment which I requested five days ago,” she told Spanish newspaper Marca in January.

“I haven't been told which type of the virus I have, I've had no information from the tournament.”

Badosa added that the room, which she is sharing with coach Javier Marti, was not suitable for an elite athlete.

“It's far and away the worst experience of my career,” she said.

“The conditions here are lamentable, I wasn't expecting that.

“The number one thing people recommend when you have the virus is to open the windows to let in air, but I don't have windows in my hotel room and it's barely 15 square metres.”

Health officials later said safety concerns had prevented Badosa from receiving any equipment but they were working on ways to do it.

“Our priority is supporting the health and wellbeing of those in our care and reducing the risk of transmission to protect staff and community safety,” a COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) spokesperson said.

“We are supporting the delivery of exercise equipment wherever possible and safe to do so from both a health and IPC (infection prevention and control) perspective.

“CQV is in ongoing discussions with Tennis Australia about suitable equipment that can be delivered to positive and symptomatic residents, given that the equipment can't be reused and would need to be safely destroyed.”

The Spaniard arrived in Melbourne after playing in Abu Dhabi earlier this month and was on her seventh day in quarantine when her test came back positive.

with AAP

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