World No.13 Victoria Azarenka has penned an open letter in response to her colleagues hitting out at Tennis Australia and the government after many players’ quarantine plans were thrown into disarray in the build-up to the Australian Open.
Players are continuing to lash out at organisers for the ‘overnight changes’ to their quarantine conditions after 72 players were forced into 14 days hard lockdown after Covid cases on their chartered flights to Australia.
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Roberto Bautista Agut was the latest star to slam the conditions as ‘like a prison’, while others have claimed it is unrealistic to expect them to quarantine then play a Grand Slam.
But in a classy message, Azarenka has called for “understanding” from her colleagues, the community and the worldwide media during a difficult period.
Azarenka called for empathy towards Melbourne residents after enduring one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, which has seen the local community restrict the effects of Covid-19.
“This has been a very difficult time for a lot of us that did not expect to end up in the situation we are in today, myself included,” the two-time Australian Open champ wrote.
“I understand all the frustration and feeling of unfairness that has been coming and it is overwhelming,” she added.
“We have a global pandemic, nobody has a clear playbook of how to operate at full capacity and without a glitch, we all have seen it last year. Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving.
“I would like to ask all my colleagues for cooperation, understanding and empathy for the local community that has been going through a lot of very demanding restrictions that they did not choose, but were forced to follow.”
Azarenka highlighted the devastation to lives and jobs the pandemic has caused and thanked those that have worked tirelessly to make the tournament happen.
Made it to Melbourne! Thank you everyone so much for making it happen. I can only imagine how many hours of work and compromise it took for us to be here! Thank you 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Jt0ywFIEj4
— victoria azarenka (@vika7) January 15, 2021
Finally, the World No.13 called for compassion from the Australian community and to understand: “we have it as our top priority to ensure the health and safety of all the people.”
Azarenka was rightfully praised for her ‘sensible’ take on the situation.
Way too sensible and reasonable..
Azarenka asking everyone - players and media- to calm down.
And remember. It is a pandemic. https://t.co/tIFOhsHbox
— Rafael Epstein (@Raf_Epstein) January 19, 2021
Victoria Azarenka, one of the most prominent players unable to practice during the quarantine in Melbourne, with a thorough statement aimed at everyone.
"Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving" https://t.co/klvTlgOcYl
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) January 19, 2021
All class but I feel as though the champion speaks for herself and that some of her colleagues simply don’t get it.
Azarenka; honorary Aussie 👏👏 https://t.co/494cu69VDG
— Michael Sullivan (@Sullivan87M) January 19, 2021
Victoria Azarenka with some wise, amazing words. https://t.co/uizJHF7h3e
— Cheryl Harris (@cdh111) January 19, 2021
Players slam quarantine conditions
Players have lashed out at organisers for the ‘overnight changes’ to their quarantine conditions with many claiming it is unrealistic to expect them to quarantine then play a Grand Slam.
But Spanish superstar Bautista Agut has gone one-step further and compared the conditions to a jail.
“It’s like being in a jail,” he said.
When asked during a zoom call whether “it’s the same as being in a prison”, Bautista Agut responded: “It’s the same.”
“These people have no idea about tennis, about practice, courts, no idea about anything.
“It’s a complete disaster. Because the control is not Tennis Australia, it’s the people from the government.”
He finished claiming he couldn’t imagine staying in those conditions for two weeks.
Bautista Agut’s view, like many tennis stars that have criticised quarantine, came under heavy scrutiny.
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