COVID-19

Russian star reveals quarantine plan

The dual Grand Slam champion voiced her opinion of the hard lockdown measures overnight and urged players to be grateful, saying the first round prize money of $90,000 had even been increased “to motivate tennis players to come to Australia”.It comes as some players blast tournament officials and the state government for the strict isolation orders upon arrival, claiming the 14-day hard lockdown was not one of the conditions they signed up to before travelling Down Under.“It should be noted that there are currently zero cases of COVID-19 infection in Australia. And therefore, the level of responsibility is very high for any events,” Kuznetsova wrote in an Instagram post. “Initially the government did not approve the tennis tournament and I’m not sure if this idea still seems good to them.“Australia spent the months in lockdown, residents cannot return home due to the high costs of tickets and the strictest quarantine rules upon arrival. Problems are everywhere!“We immediately understand for sure that tennis players would have to spend two weeks in isolation. We knew this from the very beginning. It was about creating conditions for us so that we can practise in this quarantine.”

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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