Tennis star locked in Australian Open isolation vents anger over extra day in quarantine – but Kyrgios hails ‘incredible bubble’
With less than two weeks before the start of the season-opening Grand Slam, player fury over strict Covid-19 restrictions continues to grow after some were told that their quarantine will be stretched beyond 14 days.
A total of 960 Australian Open participants, including players and staff members, were put in lockdown after positive coronavirus cases were found on charter flights to Melbourne.
They were expecting to be released from quarantine on Thursday, having served 14 days in isolation. But the Victoria quarantine hotel has revealed that the release process will take several days, which means some players will have to spend extra days in quarantine.
Anger around tennis quarantine arrangements have boiled over, with confusion around who will be let out tonight. American player Tennys Sandgren has posted a scathing video, saying his release was pushed back because of a technicality. @EmilyRice28#AusOpen#9Newspic.twitter.com/Fy0jjyk3oT— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) January 28, 2021
While some athletes will still be released from quarantine on Thursday evening, others have been told by the authorities that they will have to stay in their rooms as late as Sunday afternoon.
Players and officials will be released room by room only after returning negative Covid-19 tests.
World number 50 Sandgren took to social media to express his fury over the extended quarantine, accusing the authorities of toughening the requirements at the expense of players being able to meaningfully train ahead of the major tournament.
“I just found out we’re not going to be able to leave the room until midnight, which will put us at close to 15 days in this room,” he fumed, mocking the organizers of the tournament in a shrill voice.
“It’s also another day we can’t practice. That’s play Saturday, Sunday, Monday and play a match Tuesday – a match, a competitive tennis match. After 16 days off, we get three days’ hitting and then a tennis match."
I have a strict schedule of inhaling coffee and wall staring— Tennys Sandgren (@TennysSandgren) January 22, 2021
Outspoken Sandgren has continued to have an eventful time since testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this month.
The 29-year-old publicly admitted his surprise at being granted special permission to travel to the tournament, then bristled at remarks by tournament director Craig Tiley acknowledging that the top seeds were perceived as receiving preferential treatment.
"F*ck man, don’t contradict yourself in the same paragraph," Sandgren wrote on social media after reading Tiley's comments that called a "better deal" for the likes of Novak Djokovic "the nature of the business". "Call a spade a spade," added the player.
In his most recent tweet, Sandgren appeared to issue a sharp response to comparisons between the contrasting fatalities from Covid-19 in his homeland and Australia.
Covid positive over thanksgiving Covid positive on mondayYet pcr tests are the “gold standard”?Atleast I get to keep my points 😂— Tennys Sandgren (@TennysSandgren) January 13, 2021
Wow I’m on the plane Maybe I just held my breath too long..Craig Tiley is a wizard— Tennys Sandgren (@TennysSandgren) January 14, 2021
A lot couch virologists out there. My two tests were less than 8 weeks a part. I was sick in November, totally healthy now. There’s not a single documented case where I would be contagious at this point. Totally recovered!— Tennys Sandgren (@TennysSandgren) January 14, 2021
"Comparing country’s death rates as a diss is truly disgusting," he curiously declared. "Just call me a piece of sh*t like a normal person."
While Sandgren’s complaints about quarantine were supported by other players and fans, Aussie tennis star Kyrgios hailed organizers for creating an "incredible bubble".
“I actually feel quite safe," he said. "I didn’t really feel safe during last year, traveling and playing overseas. I thought it was a bit too soon to play,”
“I think now the conditions are safe enough and everyone is going to work together and make sure we do it the right way.”
The tournament is scheduled to start on February 8 and run until February 21.Also on rt.com Kazakh tennis star Putintseva asked to stop ‘feeding the mouse’ after second incident in Australian Open hotel lockdown (VIDEO)