Rival turns on Rafael Nadal over Australian Open quarantine furore

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Rafael Nadal, pictured here at the 2020 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal speaks at a press conference at the 2020 Australian Open. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Argentinian tennis player Guido Pella has called out Rafael Nadal for his ongoing silence around the Australian Open quarantine controversy.

Nadal is among a number of the world’s top tennis players quarantining in Adelaide rather than Melbourne ahead of the February 8 grand slam.

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The Melbourne contingent are said to be seething about the relaxed conditions in Adelaide, where players are allowed to train with more members of their entourage and are reportedly staying in nicer hotels.

Tennis Australia initially defended the move by saying there were limited spots in Melbourne hotels, however Australian Open boss Craig Tiley recently conceded that the top players were afforded better treatment simply because they’re the stars of the game.

While World No.1 Novak Djokovic (also in Adelaide) has called on Tennis Australia to help players struggling in quarantine in Melbourne, Nadal has remained silent.

And that fact has angered Pella.

“Djokovic’s balcony is bigger than my room. But at least he said something,” Pella told a tennis podcast from his hotel room.

“I’m surprised with Nadal and (Dominic) Thiem’s silence”.

To his credit, Thiem has since spoken out about the “bitter” situation.

Guido Pella, pictured here in action at the French Open in 2020.
Guido Pella in action at the French Open in 2020. (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images)

“I think it is clear there’s a complete inequality of opportunity,” he said.

“All players are fresh out of their pre-season, they are in really good shape and have top fitness.

“If you can’t leave your room for 14 days it doesn’t matter how much fitness you do in the room, a lot of it just goes away.

“But that’s the risk we all took. It is very, very bitter and very, very unfortunate.”

Players angry over preferential treatment

On Thursday, American player Tennys Sandgren took aim at Tiley’s admission that the best players had been afforded the best conditions.

“Perceived as? F*** man don’t contradict yourself in the same paragraph,” Sandgren wrote on social media.

“Call a spade a spade.”

A number of players in Melbourne have taken to social media to complain about their hotel facilities and inability to train properly.

The likes of Djokovic, Nadal, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka have been photographed enjoying the sun on their balconies, while they were able to bring much larger entourages to Australia.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here arriving at Adelaide Airport.
Rafael Nadal arrives at Adelaide Airport ahead of the Australian Open. (AAP Image/Morgan Sette)

They will play an exhibition in Adelaide on January 31, which Tiley said was a trade-off for the South Australian government agreeing to take some of the hotel quarantine overflow when Melbourne ran out of beds.

But the Open chief executive said the drawcards - multiple grand slam winners - were always going to get special treatment.

“I get the feeling it is perceived as preferential treatment,” Tiley told the media.

“But they're the top players in the world and my general rule is if you're at the top of the game, a grand slam champion, it's just the nature of the business.

“You are going to get a better deal.”

with AAP

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