Tennis players rage over fresh Australian Open quarantine drama

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Tennys Sandgren, pictured here expressing his frustration on Instagram.
Tennys Sandgren expressed his frustration at being made to wait to depart quarantine. Image: AAP/Instagram

First it was Australian Open players complaining about being put into quarantine, now they’re complaining about getting out.

Players have been given the green light to begin exiting their COVID-19 quarantine after spending two weeks confined to a biosecurity hub.

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The first group among the 960 players, coaches and officials isolating at three Melbourne hotels were allowed to leave from 6pm AEDT on Thursday, with the rest expected to depart by Sunday.

Players isolating in South Australia, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams, were to be released before their exhibition tournament - which includes Ash Barty - in Adelaide on Friday.

Players will be free to move around the cities and surrounding regions so long as they abide by local social distancing restrictions.

Martina Trevisan and coach Matteo Cartarsi, pictured here leaving the Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne.
Martina Trevisan and coach Matteo Cartarsi leave the Hyatt Hotel in Melbourne after serving a 14 day quarantine. (Image: Sydney Low/CSM/Sipa USA)

However a number of players have lashed out after being told their departures would be delayed.

American player Tennys Sandgren, who was among the 72 players put in hard lockdown after passengers on their flights to Australia tested positive, was unhappy he would not be able to check out of isolation until Friday.

“I just found out we're not going to be able to leave the room until midnight tomorrow which will put us out close to 15 days in this room,” he said in a video posted on Instagram on Thursday.

“That will put us at close to 15 days in this room. It’s also another day we can’t practice.

“We play Saturday, Sunday, Monday, play a match on Tuesday. A competitive tennis match.

“[Including travel] 16 days off, three days hitting. Tennis match.

“My name’s Tennis Australia and I’m sooooo cool.”

Latest twist in Australian Open quarantine saga

Sandgren later explained the situation further, saying he believed his first day in quarantine had been counted as “day zero”.

“So I’ve been able to figure out what actually happened and where the confusion lies for the players that have been in hard quarantine because of close contact rules,” he said in another video.

“So for everybody else, the day they got here started their first day, so they leave 14 days later at the same time they arrived.

“For the players in hard quarantine, the first day we got here was day zero. Day zero! So they started the count from zero.”

Tennis players, pictured here heading to their training sessions.
Tennis players staying at the Pullman Hotel in Melbourne head to their training sessions. (Photo by Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

Sandgren tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago before his flight from Los Angeles, but said he was allowed to board after intervention from Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

Georgian Oksana Kalashnikova, the women’s World number 63, was also unhappy with her scheduled departure.

She posted a meme on Twitter saying, “Why??” and wrote: “When Australian Government orders u to stay another extra day just because.”

Quarantine Victoria said it had not recorded any new COVID-19 infections among the Australian Open contingent on Thursday, although there remained five active cases.

They will need to spend longer in quarantine depending on when they tested positive.

Spain’s Paula Badosa was the first player to reveal she had contracted the virus when she tested positive on her seventh day in quarantine.

She was moved to a “health hotel” last Thursday to begin two more weeks of isolation.

with AAP

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