Australian Open organizers schedule new warm-up event to benefit quarantining players

The extra ladies’s event, which shall be held at Melbourne Park from February 3-7, has been scheduled alongside two different WTA tournaments and three males’s tournaments earlier than the grand slam itself will get underway on February 8.

In complete, 72 players are beneath strict, 14-day lodge quarantines due to optimistic circumstances on their flights to the Australian Open. Others have been allotted 5 hours every day to prepare in bio-secure bubbles.

“This has been a particularly challenging time for the athletes in hard lockdown and we, along with the WTA and ATP, aim to do everything we can to help,” mentioned Australian Open event director Craig Tiley.

“These changes to the lead-in events have been made to give the 72 players a little bit of extra time to help them prepare. We also will prioritize them for things like practice sessions, gym and ice baths.”

Officials introduced on Sunday that there are presently 9 energetic circumstances of Covid-19 linked to players and help workers isolating in Melbourne, in accordance to Reuters.
Earlier this week, 23-year-old Paula Badosa became the first Australian Open player to reveal a optimistic check.

World No. 92 Joao Sousa additionally introduced on Saturday that he had examined optimistic earlier than touring to Australia and could be unable to compete.

“Even though I already tested negative and have no symptoms, due to the strict rules of the Australian government, I won’t be able to travel,” Sousa mentioned on social media.

“After such a great off-season and hard work, I’m very disappointed to not be able to play in such a great event where Tennis Australia and the Tour put so much effort (in) to make it happen.”

Former world No. 1 Andy Murray has additionally been unable to journey to Australia after returning a optimistic check.

Players caught in lodge quarantines have had to get creative with how they prepare for the tournament whereas cooped up indoors.

Some have vented frustration at how the scenario has been dealt with with eight-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic placing ahead an inventory of proposals that might loosen restrictions on these quarantining.

In response, Victoria State Premier Daniel Andrews mentioned: “People are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no.”

Djokovic later said that his “good intentions” in drawing up the listing have been “misconstrued as being selfish, difficult and ungrateful.”

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