The Australian Open, or a powder keg about to explode

Sports

By CAPosts 18 January, 2021 - 03:18pm 80 views

In mid-December, Craig Tiley, a serious, discreet and always praised for his good work at the wheel of the Australian Open , proudly announced that he had reached an agreement with the Government of his country so that the first major of the season could be held , with the exception that the start would be delayed for three weeks and would finally run from February 8 to 21 . Everything was praise and praise for the model Tiley, whose effort was applauded by tennis players and professionals until in recent days several turns of events have been taking place that have drawn a new scenario far from what was promised. This is what the vast majority of tennis players who have traveled to the Antipodes denounce, now clawing with him and the great Australian tournament, transformed at this time into a tinderbox based in Melbourne.

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They all knew about the requirements to be able to participate; in essence, a rigorous quarantine as soon as they landed there and the exhaustive daily control - with a five-hour concession to go to training - to which they would be subjected throughout their stay. They also knew that a very few privileged ones - the top three in the male and female ranking and their companions, as well as the exception of the Williams sisters for health reasons - would enjoy a much looser bubble in Adelaide, under the pretext (cosmetic pretext) of that will offer an exhibition between the 29th and the 30th of this month. However, the detection of several positives for covid-19 on three flights from Abu Dhabi, Doha and Los Angeles, in which a large block of tennis players was traveling, has caused the organization to decree a total lockdown for 72 players. Despite the fact that none of the tennis players tested positive, all of them will have to remain completely isolated in their hotel rooms for two weeks, with the consequent damage in the preparation and against what was initially agreed with Tiley. According to the professionals, what was agreed was that this measure would only affect those who were in the aircraft sector in which the infected were detected, but the organization has been relentless and does not intend to move one iota from its position. Among those affected are the Spanish Paula Badosa, Carlos Alcaraz and Mario Vilella, as well as renowned players such as Victoria Azarenka (double champion of the event), Angelique Kerber or Kei Nishikori, or the winner of last year, the American Sofia Kenin. Those involved complain that the decision prevents them from training and that they will not be able to participate in the appointments prior to the Grand Slam, and that it is basically crazy to be cloistered for 14 days and go directly to compete in a tournament as demanding as the Australian Open, in which acclimatization is more essential if possible due to both the jet lag and the sudden change in temperature. "Being like this is torture," lamented the Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk on social networks. “Weeks and weeks of working hard so that everything is wasted by a positive on an airplane. It's crazy ... ”protested French Alice Cornet. "What I don't understand is why no one told us anything before coming here, because I would have thought twice," Yulia Putintseva followed .

Tennis players spend their hours in their rooms and prepare as best they can. Some are in a good mood and others are entertained with series; all angry, in any case, with the grievances on the part of the organization. While some have been given stationary bikes and bungee cords to train on - Kerber hastened to erase an image in which a treacherous reflection showed that she had been one of the graceful ones - - others don't have any material yet and haven't been able to go to Melbourne Park to rally, since the management canceled the training sessions for the first two days, citing alleged problems with transportation; However, the seeds have not been harmed.

This Monday, the affected tennis players transmitted their discomfort to Tiley through a videoconference and asked him to reduce the period of confinement. At the meeting, the boss made it clear that the script will not change a single hair and that the country's authorities are not going to loosen the slightest bit, as well as that the event will take place on the appointed date, without any option of change.

Meanwhile, in Adelaide's happy bubble , the story is quite different. There, the number of companions is higher - in Melbourne it is reduced to two per team, and only one can go abroad with the player - and includes family members. Rafael Nadal is silent and those present work smoothly, although Novak Djokovic was caught without a mask on official transport. According to the Punto de Break website , number one sent a letter to Tiley demanding equal conditions, but the bulk of the platoon interpreted the Serbian's maneuver as a simple posture. “From Adelaide?” Stan Wawrinka ironically.

Nole demanded that material be supplied and food be improved, also criticized; that the confinement was reduced, as long as the players passed the pertinent tests; that they can visit their coach or their physio, and that they are on the same floor of the hotel; and that, as far as possible, players were allowed to stay in private houses with courts so that they could exercise on a daily basis. "People are free to present a list of demands, but the answer is no", resolved the head of the Government of the state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews.

Source: Elpais

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