The start of COVID-safe limited on-court training for eligible players quickly became a shambles on Monday as the strict Australian Open lockdown hit another sticking point.

Players who are not among the 70 or more forced into 14-day isolation after arriving on flights in which a passenger tested positive (five in all, according to an unofficial count) were supposed to be taken to training under quarantine arrangements.

But from the 0730 slots onwards, with the logistical exercise quickly turning into a palava, with delays of up to two hours and a reported 50 players only actually getting onto the practice court.

Spain’s MARCA reported that the disorganisation began on Sunday and was repeated on Monday to the detriment of training schedules for those who had been cleared by testing.

The sports daily said that mis-communication occurred at both the central city Pullman and Grand Hyatt hotels housing players who have been cleared to train, eat and get physio for five hours per day outside of their rooms as per the draconian government terms and conditions.

Many training sessions just never took place, the paper added.

Beleagured Australian Open TD Craig Tiley

Under the protocols, players are given a timeslot to train and must be accompanied from their rooms by health staff, who presumably supervises the practice also.

Tennis Australia, copping fire from all directions including both players and local public, put the problem down to transport issues without getting specific on the cause or solution concerning the rest of the lockdown period.

Beleagured TD Craig Tiley told the Nine Network that the Open is still set to begin on February 8 despite growing calls from some to just call the whole thing off.  


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