French tennis player Jeremy Chardy has accused Tennis Australia of favouring top players after it was revealed several stars would quarantine in Adelaide rather than Melbourne.
The quarantine arrangements with the South Australian government were enacted to provide relief, with more than 1300 players and personnel to isolate in Melbourne ahead of the year’s first grand slam.
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The South Australian state government agreed to allow up to 50 people to quarantine in Adelaide to ease the burden on Melbourne, but on the proviso that several top players would appear in an exhibition tournament in the city prior to the Australian Open.
The likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem have accepted invitations to participate, as have Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.
World number 72 Chardy told French newspaper L’Equipe he felt the arrangements were putting lower ranked players at a disadvantage.
“They will even be able to benefit from a gym at the hotel and will be able to do their exercises, which will not count towards the five-hour quota,” Chardy said.
“Everyone can go out. They will almost be able to live normally.
“Already they have a lot of privileges. If they can do everything more than you; it will not be the same preparation.
“And that’s weird for a sport where we’re all supposed to be on the same footing. If I was No.4 in the world, I would be distraught.”
Australian Open boss hits back at disadvantage claim
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley was quick to hit back at Chardy’s claims, insisting the quarantine arrangements, including permissions to go training, would be identical for Adelaide and Melbourne.
While he acknowledged there was some benefit for the players quarantining in Adelaide, he said he did not expect them to gain any overall benefit over their competitors.
“They’ll be in a different hotel – obviously a smaller cohort – and travel directly to Adelaide, so there will be some benefit because of that,” Tiley said.
“But outside of that, the conditions of training will be the same.
“I know there’s a fair bit that’s been written on social media, which is not completely accurate about what would be experienced in Adelaide.”
The Adelaide-based players would then return to Melbourne Park with two WTA tournaments and two ATP events taking place as well as the 12-team ATP Cup, which starts on February 1.
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