Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has taken aim at players who have complained about being caught unawares by strict quarantine requirements after arriving in Melbourne.
More than 70 of the 1200-string contingent of players, coaches and other staff have been forced into strict 14-day quarantine with no permission to train after positive coronavirus cases were detected on their flights to Australia.
‘NOT HAPPY’: Ash Barty caught in ugly Aus Open controversy
Under the tournament’s original arrangements with the Victorian and South Australian governments, players would have been allowed to leave their quarantine hotels for up to five hours of training and other preparation.
However, those on flights with positive cases have been deemed ‘close contacts’ and barred from leaving their hotels.
The move to enact a strict quarantine has prompted an outcry from certain players who have claimed they were not informed of the potential requirement to fully quarantine - sparking a firm rebuke from Tiley.
Following a list of demands being requested by leading star Novak Djokovic and a host of other players complaining about the situation on social media, Tiley insisted all players had been made aware of the potential requirement.
“There have been accusations that players didn’t know – that’s simply not true.” Tiley said.
“We had conversations...and we made everyone very aware of what the situation would be.
“Often when you communicate that and someone has never experienced that, it may be brushed off,” Tiley said.
— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) January 19, 2021
“Some players were very aware of it and some players were not...which may be a function of what they understood or what their perception was.
“They’ve had very different experiences with different cities around the world.”
The tournament remains slated to begin on February 8.
Tennis stars at odds over COVID lockdown
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is imploring her lock-downed tennis colleagues to show some empathy for Victorians.
In contrast to men's world No.13 Roberto Bautista Agut who describes his lockdown as akin to being in jail, Azarenka is appealing for tennis stars to show understanding for what Victorians went through during a 112-day lockdown last year.
Some 72 players in the Australian Open field are in a 14-day lockdown in Melbourne ahead of the grand slam starting on February 8.
There have been nine positive COVID-19 cases from about 1200 tests of tennis players and support staff who have arrived in Melbourne on charter flights in recent days.
"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," Azarenka posted on Twitter.
"To be in a 14-day hard quarantine is very tough to accept in terms of all the work everyone has been putting in during their off-season.
"... I understand all the frustration and feeling of unfairness that has been coming and it is overwhelming.
"... Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.