Players have started arriving in Australia for the first slam of the year but the strict covid 19 protocols in place have made the entire affair a nightmare for the organizers and the players alike.
Tennis’ top stars face the threat of sanctions if they break the strict protocols in place ahead of the Australian Open with many claiming that it would indeed be a “miracle” if the Grand Slam were to conclude without any hiccups.
On the other hand, the numbers of withdrawals from the coveted tournament continue to increase with American ace John Isner also taking his name out of the draw.
Players breaking protocols to face charges-
The chairman of the Australian federation and in general of the Australian Open Craig Tiley gave a very interesting interview to The Age microphones.
First of all, the statement from Tennis Australia: “In addition to fines of around $ 20,000 and criminal penalties, any violation of the protocol could result in one of the following additional penalties: disqualification from the tournament, loss of the prize money, even more, extensive quarantine, isolation in hotel room ordered by the government, arrest, and deportation.”
Then Tiley continued: “The Grand Slams have a different set of rules and most importantly we are very strict about applying them. The players understand that any infraction could lead to disqualification and everyone would then be forced to return to their country.
If someone finds it tiring to respect these rules, then it would be better for them not to come.” he concluded.
After passing a fourteen-day quarantine period where tennis players will be able to train with a colleague in the first week and with two other players in the second week, it is expected that there will be around 1200 people occupying the Melbourne facility over the course of the tournament and every precaution will be important.
Covid Withdrawals from Australian Open continue-
American John Isner, ranked 25th in the world, said Monday he won’t play the Australian Open because of COVID-19 restrictions at tennis’s first Grand Slam of 2021.
On the other hand, two players have been withdrawn from the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Doha, Qatar, and put into hotel quarantine after returning positive tests for COVID-19.
American Denis Kudla, seeded No. 4 in the qualifying event which is being held outside of Australia for the first time, was withdrawn following a 6-4, 6-3 first-round win over Elliot Benchetrit of Morocco on Monday. Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-2, 6-4 before he was withdrawn.
With a small but steady increase in Covid-19 cases in Australia, it remains to be seen how many more hiccups await the year’s maiden Grand slam.