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French ace Cornet apologizes to Australians after calling strict Covid measures 'insane'

French ace Cornet apologizes to Australians after calling strict Covid measures 'insane'
French tennis ace Alize Cornet has issued an apology to Australians after publishing a "tactless" tweet in which she lashed out at the Australian Open organizers for implementing "insane" quarantine restrictions for participants.

The winner of three WTA titles was outraged over safety measures that forced more than 72 players into obligatory self-isolation after Covid-19 was detected on charter flights to Melbourne.

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They were not allowed to leave their hotel rooms and therefore could not train ahead of the tournament.

Cornet was among those to complain about the strict quarantine requirements, saying that two weeks without training would not only undermine intense preparation for the Grand Slam event, but could also lead to serious injuries.

"We've been told that the plane would be separated by sections of 10 people and that if one person of your section was positive, then you had to isolate. Not that the whole plane had to," Cornet wrote in a tweet that was later deleted.

"But we are not asking the Victorian residents to play a professional sport afterward. The risks of injury after a two-week break [are] huge. Maybe I'm too focused on my side of the story, but that's also why we are here for," she added.

"Weeks and weeks of practice and hard work going to waste for one person positive to Covid in a 3/4 empty plane. Sorry but this is insane," read another tweet from the star.

The player faced severe backlash online, with many followers reminding her of what the continent had been through during the imposition of the harshest lockdown restrictions to battle the spread of Covid-19.

She was quick to react, issuing an apology and admitting that she may have hurt the feelings of many Australians who lost relatives, income and jobs during the pandemic.

"After my last (deleted) tweet I feel like I need to apologize to you Australian people," Cornet tweeted.

"Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realize what you've been through last year & how much you suffered. I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this & I better have shut my mouth."

"But sometimes we make mistakes and the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt your feelings. Don't be mad at me Aussie people, you've always been one of my favorite[s]! I promise I'll stay quiet for a while. Take care," she said.

On Monday, the first case of the virus was confirmed to have been found among the participants when a player tested positive in quarantine at the hotel. Other cases have so far have been linked to coaches, media or flight crew.

Play is set to get underway in Melbourne on Monday, February 8, with the tournament running through to Sunday, February 21. 

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