Australian Open’s Tiley says a good majority of players support hard quarantine norms
MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – Most tennis players backed being locked down in hard quarantine as a government official opined three new cases of coronavirus could be linked to participants of the Grand Slam, said Australian Open boss Craig Tiley on Tuesday.
The Australian Open organiser said he had a call with 500 players to address their concerns and the “vast majority” supported the strict protocols of the country.
“The vast majority, most of them have been fantastic and been supportive,” he told the Nine Network.
“(They) know that this is the contribution that they have to make in order to get the privilege of when they do come out to compete for A$80 million ($61.46 million) in prize money.
“So we will turn the corner on those few that don’t have the right approach to this. But the rest have been really good.”
However, he admitted that the 72 players in quarantine were at a disadvantage compared with rivals who arrived on other flights and have the privilege to train for up to five hours a day.
“Yes, it’s not an even playing field as far as preparation goes but we’re going to play our part to try to even it up as much as possible,” he said.
Former world number one Victoria Azarenka exhorted fellow players to accept and adapt to the health norms in Melbourne and demonstrate empathy towards the local community.
Albert Costa, former French Open champion, said although it was not easy for the players to remain holed up in their rooms ahead of a major tourney, there is no other option but to stay strong and get through it.
“I think that at least the Australian Open are making the effort to give the opportunity to the players to compete,” Spaniard Costa, who is the tournament director for the Davis Cup Finals, said.
“They are doing everything for the players, they are doing it in good faith and the players I think understand that. If it was me, for sure I would be playing there.”