The Russian world number 37 and former top 10 player revealed the location for the tournament had changed many times.“There were many calls … the Australian Association was even ready to rent full-fledged resorts for tennis players, invest a lot of money so that ‘everything would go as safely as possible for the inhabitants of the continent’ and at the same time, without harming the physical shape of tennis players,” Kuznetsova said.
She reeled off the financial benefits provided by tournament officials to make life easier for the players, including an increase to the first round prize money.She also added players only “partially” paid for their chartered flights to Australia. “So! After a long pause in the calendar, we were all delighted with this bright opportunity and rushed to Australia for a series of tournaments,” she said.
Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic was one of the first players to express his outrage at the hard lockdown situation, writing an open letter to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.He listed demands, such as “better food” and switching players from hotels to private homes with tennis courts.Spanish tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut likened the quarantine to a “prison”, while former top 30 player Sorana Cirstea threatened to pull out of the tournament.A media release from Victoria’s chief health officer Brett Sutton on Tuesday afternoon revealed three of the state’s four new cases in hotel quarantine were linked to the Australian Open, bringing the total number of infections associated with the tournament to seven. The Australian Open is scheduled to start on February 8.
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