'Shut my mouth': Tennis player's grovelling apology to Australia

Alize Cornet, pictured here in action at the Australian Open in 2020.
Alize Cornet in action at the Australian Open in 2020. (Photo by DAVID GRAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Alize Cornet has issued an unreserved apology to Australians after complaining about the country’s strict quarantine conditions.

The French tennis player lashed out on social media at the “insane” protocols on Saturday after dozens of players were forced into hard quarantine upon their arrival in Australia.

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A total of 72 players and their entourages have had to isolate for two weeks and cannot leave their hotel rooms in Melbourne to train, after infections were reported on three flights carrying international players.

Cornet said the situation was “insane” because weeks of training were “going to waste”, but the World No.53 has since changed her tune.

Cornet was quickly reminded that she was better off than many Victorian residents who endured worse as authorities looked to curb the spread of the virus.

“After my last (deleted) tweet I feel like I need to apologise to you Australian people,” she wrote on Twitter.

“Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realise what you've been through last year and how much you suffered.

“I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this and I better have shut my mouth.

“But sometimes we make mistakes and the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt your feelings.

“Don’t be mad at me Aussie people, you've always been one of my favourite. I promise I'll stay quiet for a while.”

Dozens of players forced into hard quarantine

A further 25 players were forced into hard quarantine on Sunday before the season’s first tennis major, bringing the total number of competitors now isolating in hotel rooms to 72.

A fifth person, who had flown in to Melbourne on the charter flight from Doha, tested positive on Sunday night after arriving on Saturday.

It means three Australian Open charter flights have now brought in passengers who later tested positive, after infections on planes from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.

The players will now be confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days, unable to utilise a special training exemption afforded to players who haven’t been in contact with the virus.

However the Commissioner for COVID-19 Quarantine in Victoria, Emma Cassar, has already said that the quarantine program won’t be altered.

“The program is set up to keep people safe. We will not be modifying the program or watering it down under any circumstances,” Cassar said on Sunday.

Cassar said police presence had been increased at the Open hotels and added that there had been cases of “challenging behaviour” from some confined players and support staff.

She cited two cases when hotel room doors were opened to have a conversation or shout down the hallway.

“There is zero tolerance for breaches,” she said.

“It's low level but dangerous acts that we just can't tolerate.”

Cassar warned the players and support staff could be fined up to $20,000 or repeat offenders transferred to the complex care hotel where they have a police officer stationed outside their door.

Meanwhile, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says the event will not be postponed from its February 8 start date to accommodate the lack of training for players in hard quarantine.

with AAP

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