Huge disadvantage for players in strict quarantine: Thiem
Melbourne, Jan 27 (IANS) Austrian world No.3 Dominic Thiem has admitted that players who have been put in strict quarantine ahead of the 2021 Australian Open tennis are at a “huge disadvantage” compared to others in Melbourne. About 70 players are confined to their rooms after positive coronavirus cases were found in the two charter flights transporting them to Australia.
“Honestly, for the 70 players who were on the planes, it is of course very bitter. They will certainly be at a serious competitive disadvantage, that’s for sure,” Thiem said on Eurosport Germany’s tennis podcast.
The number of positive cases had been downgraded to eight on Wednesday after authorities reclassified one of the cases as a result of previous infection. All players arriving in Australia were required to undergo two weeks’ quarantine along with their support staff, but those in the two flights have been forced to extend their quarantine, thus losing out on time that other players are using to continue training.
“There are still nine days until the start of the Australian Open, but in contrast to the others who can train normally, this is a huge disadvantage. It was unbelievably unfortunate for them, and I feel very sorry for them. But of course, everyone knew what they were getting into. Tennis Australia and the whole country have tried everything to let the tournament take place and that is also a sensational achievement,” said Thiem.
“It’s very crazy times, but we knew what to expect. Here in Australia, it’s a bit stricter again, which is understandable. The coronavirus is almost extinct in their country and they want to prevent it from being brought back in. It’s very strict. We can train for about two hours a day and go out for about four hours. The rest of the time is spent in the hotel,” he said.