The tennis world has reacted with disbelief after watching Australians without masks pack a stadium for the first tennis tournament of the year due to the nation’s strong Covid response.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic caused a stir ahead of the ‘Memorial Drive’ exhibition when he withdrew from his match 30 minutes prior, only to take part.
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Seeing Djokovic in action in 2021 delighted tennis diehards, but it was another image that had fans around the world in awe.
Adelaide locals packed out the stadium ahead of the exhibition and due to Australia’s remarkably low Covid-19 numbers South Australians are not required to wear masks.
This is an unusual sight for tennis fans around the world during the Covid-19 global pandemic, considering the US Open and French Open were played in front of minimal to no fans.
Furthermore, players are not required to wear masks before and after the match because of the 14 days quarantine required upon entering Australia.
This had fans around the world stunned and ‘jealous’ at the once normal way-of-life.
Former World No.1 Maria Sharapova led the applause for the tennis to be back.
This makes me so happy! The sport back with fans sitting together. You can see their smiles too 😊 and yes go Team Jannik!! 🙃 pic.twitter.com/JEfFkIBEKW
— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) January 29, 2021
Looks like Australia's ready for tennis. A sight to see. 🇦🇺🎾 https://t.co/vk1zUW5xn7
— Brock of Gibraltar (@BrockAPerry) January 29, 2021
Was just watching a live tennis match in Australia attended by an actual crowd of people. None were wearing masks because the covid cases are so low there it's not really necessary.
That will be us one day ... right? Maybe?
— Jen Chaney (@chaneyj) January 29, 2021
It is so, so nice to see regular tennis stadiums with fans in the stands and no masks. Hope to see more of this soon 🙏 https://t.co/vZs2JVhyaN
— Thomas Cluck (@ThomasCluck1) January 29, 2021
Am I the only one kind of emotional watching this tennis in Australia and everyone having a great time without worrying about COVID?
— Matt Dowell (@TheMattDowell) January 29, 2021
A) Shoutout to Australian Open TV for live-streaming the start of the tennis season on Youtube
B) Shoutout to Australia for the work they've done to combat COVID because watching this packed crowd with no masks on is kind of surreal!
So nice to see full stadiums!
— Matt Dowell (@TheMattDowell) January 29, 2021
I Seriously Can’t Wait For The Stands To Look Like This Again At Sports Stadiums 🏟 🎾 pic.twitter.com/G5Oi766KXL
— Tennis 🎾nly Picks N Winners (@TennisOnlyPick1) January 29, 2021
Watching a pro tennis tourney in Australia. Stands are quasi packed. No one is wearing masks. So jealous that they have competent public health leaders.
And plus-it’s summer there!
— Hanna (@hannaclare) January 29, 2021
@TennisAustralia Will someone please explain to me how you have crowds in the stands right now (no masks!) as I’m watching the tennis channel. I feel like I’m watching science fiction!?
— Meg Kobe (@megkobe) January 29, 2021
This exhibition match on the Tennis Channel out of Adelaide with fans packed in without masks is a thing of beauty. Crazy what can happen when you take a pandemic seriously!
— Corey Marinecz (@evilchameleon) January 29, 2021
Amazing to see the stands full of fans, cheering, without masks just acting normal. Wow and double wow Australia! Well done @TennisAustralia
— tennis disorder (@tennisdisorder) January 29, 2021
Following Serena Williams’ match with Naomi Osaka, the 23-time Grand Slam champ said she was so exicted to play in front of a crowd.
"We haven't played in front of a crowd in over a year,” she said speaking with Osaka.
“This is really cool, thanks so much for having us and trusting us with your laws, we are just so happy to be here and it’s worth it.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2021
Djokovic causes confusion ahead of exhibition
World No.1 Djokovic dropped a bombshell on Tennis Australia organisers after withdrawing from his exhibition match only hours after leaving quarantine, only to stun fans and reverse his decision.
Only hours after being released from 14 days in quarantine, Djokovic dropped caused a stir on the event organisers and withdrew from his clash citing blisters on his right hand.
Filip Krajinovic initially replaced him against young Italian Jannick Sinner.
While the announcement Djokovic’s late withdrawal shocked fans on social media there was another twist.
Despite visible blisters on his right hand, Djokovic took to court to play a few games and help Krajinovic defeat Sinner in the exhibition clash.
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