Novak Djokovic has formalised his discontent with the restrictive quarantine regime in a no-nonsense letter to Australian Open TD Craig Tiley.
The South African administrator, who is ruling the current player lockdown situation in Melbourne with an iron hand, is unlikely to be moved to action by the world No. 1, who is serving out his own, looser isolation procedure in Adelaide.
That turn of events for some of the top names on the ATP and WTA came about after behind-the-scenes horse trading between state officials:
Adelaide in South Australia agreed to take up to 50 players and staff into isolation in exchange for a January 28 exhibition at Memorial Drive by way of a payback from quarantine-full Victoria.
Djokovic’s letter to Tiley included consideration of the following requests:
- Fitness and training material in all player rooms
- A decent level of food suitable for elite athletes
- Reduce the days of isolation for the 47 isolated players (now reportedly at 63) ; regular virus testing to find negative tests
- Permission to visit a coach or physio, as long as all have passed the virus test
- Players and coaches to be housed on the same floor of hotels.
- The chance for some players to be moved to private housing with the chance to train on a court.
Adelaide competitors who include Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams and Simona Halep are under less stress than those in Melbourne, where complaints are flowing onto social media with each passing hour of the unbending 14-day lockdown.
While Melbourne “detainees” who were not passengers of any of the three chartered jets carrying players which have now turned up four positive COVID-19 tests can only leave their hotel rooms five five hours per day – with two hours only on court, those aboard the ill-fated jets are completely locked down.
Those unfortunates from “positive” jets have all been thrown into isolation with no chance of leaving the room for any reason for the duration.
Adelaide players – by contrast – have a hotel gym at their disposal and can train on the courts for limited periods.