Australian Open boss rejects players’ explosive accusation
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has rejected accusations from disgruntled tennis stars that organisers changed the rules about hotel quarantine at the last minute.
After positive COVID-19 cases were detected on three flights carrying players to Melbourne for the year’s first grand slam, 72 competitors were deemed “close contacts” and forced into 14 days of isolation, unable to leave their hotel rooms.
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The hard lockdown sparked backlash among many stars as they raged against the strict conditions.
Players believed they would only be classified close contacts and need to spend 14 days in isolation if a member of their team tested positive. Given they were separated into different sections on planes, players have said they didn’t think they would need to quarantine if another passenger, who was not part of their entourage, contracted coronavirus.
Initially, players were told they would be allowed out of their rooms for five hours a day to train — but that situation quickly changed for many of them.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Tiley said organisers had been in regular contact with players in the lead-up making them aware if Victorian health authorities declared them close contacts, then they would need to quarantine for 14 days without their five-hour breaks each day.
“There have been accusations that players didn’t know – that’s simply not true,” Tiley said. “We had conversations … and we made everyone very aware of what the situation would be.”
The tennis boss said players were aware they were “very privileged the state has invested in a modified quarantine program” but suggested some of them may not have fully appreciated the seriousness of the quarantine they faced and the strictness of the regulations in Australia.
“Often when you communicate that and someone has never experienced that, it may be brushed off,” Tiley said.
“Some players were very aware of it and some players were not … which may be a function of what they understood or what their perception was.
“They’ve had very different experiences with different cities around the world.”
At least Novak Djokovic has a balcony.Source:News Corp Australia
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