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Adelaide quarantine plan for top tennis players creates stir
French player Jeremy Chardy told L’Equipe it was preferential treatment, claiming that Adelaide-based players would get to leave their rooms and have access to facilities for more than the five hours a day allowed in Melbourne.
January 10, 2021
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Tennis Australia has confirmed its lineup for an Adelaide exhibition event but its plans to quarantine top players there instead of in Melbourne has created controversy.
The exhibition will include a men’s field with Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, and Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep in the women’s lineup, along with two players to be named.
Adelaide is also where those players will do their required two weeks of quarantine and will host a WTA 250 event following the Australian Open.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley had told Tennis Channel that it had to find an additional location for players to quarantine in order not to exceed the limit of 1,250 people allowed to enter Melbourne by the state government of Victoria. In a statement sent to competitors, those heading to Melbourne were informed that charter flights operating at less than 20 percent capacity will depart from Abu Dhabi, Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Los Angeles, along with one flight each from Antalya and Miami.
The state government of South Australia has approved 50 rooms in Adelaide, Tiley added, but wanted some professional tennis to be played there as a condition.
But according to L’Equipe, some other players are not pleased about the arrangement. The newspaper said that the players quarantining in Adelaide could take their entire team for practice, while those in Melbourne are only allowed to have one team member on the courts.
French player Jeremy Chardy said it was preferential treatment, also claiming that Adelaide-based players would get to leave their rooms and have access to facilities for more than the five hours a day allowed in Melbourne.
“This announcement on the Top 3, it came from nowhere a bit. And it’s bizarre, to say the least,” he told L’Equipe. “They will have a gym at the hotel and get to do their exercises which will not count towards their five-hour limit.”
This would help the top players, argued Chardy. “Already they have a lot of privileges,” he added.
“If they can do everything more than you, it will not be the same preparation. And it’s bizarre for a sport where we are all supposed to be on an equal footing.”
But Tiley, speaking before Chardy’s comments, had insisted “the conditions of training will be the same,” and there were some “not accurate” descriptions about the Adelaide arrangements.
Thiem’s agent, Herwig Straka, told Austrian station ORF there were advantages and disadvantages for his player.
“You have fewer problems with courts and you have more freedom as there are fewer people there. On the other hand, you will have to adjust to the conditions in Melbourne. But Adelaide is probably better for training,” he said.
According to The Advertiser (Adelaide), Tennis Australia is in talks with the South Australian government about exact quarantine conditions.
Players will move to a hotel in Melbourne following the exhibition in Adelaide.