With COVID-19 on the run in Melbourne, Novak Djokovic fears that players will be spoiled by fans in the stands prior to returning to the gloomy virus landscape in Europe
Thanks to months of lockdown and strict enforcement of quarantines, the Australian summer of tennis got up and running on Sunday, with six preliminary events crammed into the next seven days in Melbourne.
The Open is due to start three weeks late but with 30,000 spectators per day allowed through the gates into three isolated zones at Melbourne Park.
It all sounds like heaven to the world No. 1, who got a taste of what’s in store when he played in front of 4,000 on Friday at the Adelaide exhibition.
“I had goosebumps coming into the court playing in front of the fans again after 12 months of not experiencing that,” he said.
“Hopefully this (pandemic) is all temporary, that we will be able to experience everywhere we go the fact of playing in front of the fans, not just here in Australia.”
Djokovic gave credit to the host country, which confined players to hotel rooms for 14 days upon arrival on special charter flights.
“This is probably the only country maybe having this kind of opportunity to have sports with that many fans on the stands.
“There are restrictions like maybe rest of the Europe or the world.”
The Serb may be dreading a return to virus reality during the spring clay campaign.
“In Europe, it’s going to be far more challenging (compared to what) we are experiencing here in terms of crowds on the stands.
“But we might as well enjoy it as much as we can while we’re here “