Several players strike a pose during the Australian Open on January 15, 2020 in Melbourne.
Sydney Low / Cal Sport Media / Sipa / SIPA
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley assured Sunday that the Grand Slam tournament would start as scheduled next month, while admitting it was "not a good situation" for the 47 players confined to their homes. hotel room.
"We always knew there would be a significant risk with this pandemic, you can never know," Tiley said on Channel Nine.
"But the Australian Open will go on as planned and we will continue to do our best to ensure that players who are not in a good situation have a somewhat acceptable solution."
He said he was doing his best to ensure that the players concerned have equipment to train in their room.
But he admitted that they would have a hard time being ready for the week of pre-season tests which begin in Melbourne on January 31.
Asked if the 47 players would miss these events, he replied: "They were not ruled out".
“It is obvious that at this stage, they will not have any preparation on the court.
But we are going to fix it, we are going to work with each of the players to see what is best, ”he said.
The tournament was turned upside down on Saturday when three passengers tested positive for Covid-19 on two of the 17 flights that carried the players and their entourage to Melbourne and Adelaide.
A fourth person, a TV crew member from Los Angeles, tested positive on Sunday.
Grand slam preparation 😅 pic.twitter.com/ALvc4EugN6
- Yulia Putintseva (@PutintsevaYulia) January 17, 2021
No player is concerned, but one of the cases is Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of Bianca Andreescu, 7th player in the world.
All those on board are considered contact cases and have therefore been placed in strict quarantine for 14 days.
The 47 players concerned are therefore deprived of the five hours of daily training before the tournament which is due to start on February 8.
Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori and Angelique Kerber are said to be among those affected, which will have a bad impact on their preparation.
Some players have already broken the quarantine rules by opening their bedroom doors.
They face fines of up to AU $ 20,000 (US $ 15,300), and repeat offenders risk being sent to another hotel with a police officer parked outside their door, the Covid-19 Quarantine Commissioner warned. 'State of Victoria, Emma Cassar.
She quoted one player "who opened his door to try and have a conversation with his training partner in the hall", while another bought take-out food for friends on the same floor "and a praised his efforts and opened his door to do so ”.
"These are low level but really dangerous acts that we just cannot tolerate," Cassar said.
Several players, including Sorana Cirstea and Belinda Bencic, have complained about not being able to train, with some saying they are not aware of the existence of total isolation if a person tests positive.
“If they had told us about this rule before, I would not have played Australia,” Romanian Sorana Cirstea posted on Twitter.
Mr Tiley said the players were aware of the risks: “We were very clear from the start that is why we grouped the players into contingents, there was always a risk that someone would be positive and have to pass. 14 days in quarantine ”.
The Australian Open had previously been disrupted by the forfeit of injured Roger Federer, while world number 16 Madison Keys and three-time tournament winner Andy Murray both tested positive before their departure and therefore did not. embarked on flights to Australia.