Novak Djokovic makes six demands to Australian Open chief with 72 players in quarantine
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Novak Djokovic has reportedly reached out to Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley with a letter of demands ahead of the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam of the year gets underway on February 8 but there’s already a number of frustrated players arriving in the country who are being forced to quarantine with no access to train on practice courts for 14 days.
Players are arriving in Australia this week on chartered flights from all over the world but three separate planes have returned positive coronavirus tests.
The first flight from Los Angeles, which saw 24 players on board, returned two positive tests, although neither were said to be from someone competing in the tournament.
There was another positive test confirmed from a flight out of Abu Dhabi into Melbourne on Saturday which included 23 players.
And it’s been confirmed by the Australian Open on Sunday that another flight from Doha, containing 25 players, returned another positive test.
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It leaves 72 players in total being forced to abide by strict quarantine rules, meaning they’re unable to leave their hotel rooms for the next 14 days.
Some players have already indicated that they wouldn’t have travelled if the rules had been made clear to them.
Britain’s Heather Watson was on the flight from Abu Dhabi and she will be unable to train until the week leading up to the tournament.
And Djokovic has responded to the crisis players are facing at the Australian Open by demanding new measures be put in place.
According to Spanish website Punto de Break, the world No 1 sent a letter to Tiley with a list of six demands.
Djokovic has reportedly asked for fitness and training materials be made available to all players being forced to quarantine in their rooms.
He also wants to see the number of days players have to isolate for to be reduced from 14 with regular testing made available.
The Serbian wants guarantees of good quality food available to those in quarantine as well as permission for them to visit with their coach or physical trainer, as long as they’ve both tested negative.
The final request from Djokovic is for players to be moved to private houses with access to tennis courts.
That last demand would appear unlikely given the number of players being forced to isolate as well as the complexity of arranging such measures with short notice.
But Commissioner for COVID-19 quarantine in Victoria, Emma Cassar, insists there will be no exceptions to the quarantine measures put in place.
“The rules of close contacts haven’t changed, and there’s no other way you can consider this. If you’re on a plane for 16 to 24 hours in air that circulates throughout the plane, you are a close contact,” she said.
“The program is set up to keep people safe. We will not be modifying the program or watering it down under any circumstances.”
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