Tennis stars call Australian Open quarantine 'insane' and like prison

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Entitled, pampered, whingers.

Elite sports professionals victims of the greatest overreaction to COVID-19 in the world.

Those are the poles of opinion on the subject of tennis players in quarantine in Melbourne for the Australian Open that is due to begin on 8 February.

Talkback radio and social media have been flooded with indignant Australians blasting players complaining about being forced into a 14-day quarantine – some in hard quarantine – as per the state’s COVID rules.

Bernard Tomic’s partner Vanessa Sierra says she received “so many death threats” after she posted an update about hotel quarantine conditions.

“Haven’t really been doing much. There’s not really any space to train,” she said in a video.

The social media influencer then went on to detail what she described as the “worst part of quarantine” – the fact she had to wash her own hair.

“It’s just not something that I do. I usually have hairdressers that do it twice a week for me,” she said. Yesterday, she said her comments were clearly a joke.

Spanish tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut, in an interview with an Israeli news channel, compared the Victorian government’s lockdown of players exposed to cases to “prison with wifi”.

“These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts, no idea about anything,” said the world No. 13. He later apologised.

“It’s a complete disaster because of that, because of the control of everything.”

Russian world No. 28 Yulia Putintseva said she would have thought twice about coming if she’d known.

She said on social media: “In jail, at least you can breathe fresh air two times a day.”

Earlier, Australian player Nick Kyrgios criticised players who criticised quarantine conditions, calling world No. 1 Novak Djokovic “a tool” for his list of requests for changes to quarantine.

Former Australian player Nicole Bradtke told ABC radio only a few “serial whingers” were souring attitudes towards players in lockdown.

“They’re kind of the same people that keep popping up throughout the year that might complain … and some of them have no reason to be whingeing,” she said.

“Lock me up in a hotel room for two weeks knowing that when I get out, I’m going to get a hundred thousand dollars, and that’s just the least that they get.”

Several COVID cases among Australian Open participants will be reclassified as “viral shedding” by Victorian health authorities, which could ease strict hotel quarantine conditions for some players.

There are 72 players confined to hotel rooms for two weeks and unable to practise outside after people on their charter flights tested positive to the virus after landing in Melbourne.

Other players and their support staff can train at designated practice courts for up to five hours each day.

Such was the outrage at complaints from the sports stars, many of whom come from countries with far more lax COVID rules than Victoria, that tournament director Craig Tiley held a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“The majority of the players have been absolutely fantastic, and this is a playing group that’s a little bit upset with what some of the playing group have said. It holds them in a bad light in the community,” Mr Tiley said.

“This is the first time that these players have experienced anything like this, and this is the price that our guests and anyone coming into Australia needs to pay.”

He said communication with players had been ongoing for several months.

“All players were made aware in many conversations – on the women’s side it was nearly once a week since October – and similarly on the men’s side (but) not as frequent,” Mr Tiley said.

Mr Djokovic’s extensive list of requests for players in quarantine were denied by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews.

In June, his ill-fated charity Adria Tour 2020 tennis tournament, led to the world No. 1 and several other players testing positive for coronavirus.

During the tournament, players hugged, played basketball, huddled for photos and danced at parties with their shirts off in crowds, disregarding physical distancing.

The tennis world condemned the poor example set by the participants and the event had to be cancelled.

Victoria recorded its 14th consecutive day of no new locally acquired COVID cases on Wednesday, but four new cases were detected in hotel quarantine – three of them Australia Open participants.

Four coronavirus cases linked to the Australian Open were confirmed on Monday. A member of the air crew on one of 17 flights chartered by tournament organisers also tested positive to the virus.

Infectious disease experts expect more cases as COVID-19 could still be incubating in some of the 1200 players and officials who have arrived in Melbourne.

The strict lockdown following the positive cases prompted outrage from several players, some of whom claimed they had not been told a positive test on a plane would force all passengers on that plane to be confined to their rooms for 14 days.

Swiss world No. 11 Belinda Bencic said players didn’t know what they’d signed up for and Romanian world No. 71 Sorana Cirstea said, “If they told us this rule before I would not play Australia. I would have stayed home.”

Alize Cornet, who is not in hard lockdown, wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “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.”

However, Russian-born New Zealand doubles player Artem Sitak, who is in 14 days’ hard lockdown, said he had been informed about the health rules regarding flights.

“I think we need to put some things into perspective, where a lot of Australians right now cannot get back home because of restrictions and we, as foreigners of over a thousand people in Australia, we are going to be competing in a grand slam earning a lot of money.”

Do you think some of the players are being a little precious? Or do you think there has been a breakdown in communication about what to expect? Should the tournament be going ahead?

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Written by Will Brodie


Total Comments: 16
  1. 0

    What a load of crock… As if they care about the rest of the country.[NOT]

  2. 2

    care factor zero, why give these pampered clowns oxygen; they should have paid attention to the conditions before agreeing to them and jumping on a flight. Now they don’t like the conditions they want to grizzle. Just tell ’em to shut it.

  3. 0

    Really!! So obviously these lucky (and talented and amazing and unique and hard working) individuals live in such a cocoon that they had no idea there was a world wide pandemic!! Yes, I do totally understand the need for maintaining a high level of fitness, and being in the best possible winning head space, but really, they are saying that they had no idea it would be like this?? And making your own bed!! Such a shame that, as usual, a few brainless children taint the dedication and hard work of the rest.

  4. 2

    I’ve really had a gutful of it, sport sport sport, you’d think the world was going to fall off its axis and stop spinning if sport was ceased for 5 minutes. One rule for Australian citizens, another rule for all these overpaid clowns from various origins and sports, that the powered that be keep importing into the country. Most from highly contagious environments. They all seem to want the money , (from top to bottom), but don’t want any responsibility regarding the health of our nation. To hell with these ingrates, call off all tournaments and send them home at their own expense, then they might wake up to themselves and the true value of their greedy little lives. Jacka.

    • 1

      100% TOTAL AGREEMENT, Jacka. I also hate the way this was just ‘done’ without asking us what we’d like to have take place, being the ones placed under THREAT by this idiocy.

  5. 1

    Precious doesn’t come close. They should have read the handouts, attended telemeetings and talked to their coaches and TA reps. If they didn’t understand the rules they should not have come. They need to understand they are in a privileged position even being here. They have $100,000 reasons just to step on court so they need stop their whinging and realise they are less important than Australians who have done it tough for a year and especially in Victoria.

    They knew things could change dramatically at short notice. Suck it up princesses! Its 14 days not 14 MONTHS!

  6. 2

    The press should not give the whingers oxygen! They are just “experts” at whacking a ball around for large sums of money, not Infection Control or Medical experts…. nor are they interested in anyone but themselvs. They don’t like it? Tough.
    Personally, I back the Infection Control folks

  7. 2

    I am disappointed that tennis Australia thought that paying $100,000 to players and paying for 17 charter flights, hotel rooms ect is the right thing to be doing in the middle of COVID-19 when there are so many Australians who would have benefited from even a fraction of the funds which have been squandered on tennis players from other countries who believe themselves above everyone else and who certainly don’t want to protect Australian lives by quarantining for 14 days.

    • 1

      Spot on. How ANY sane person could have allowed or encouraged this is beyond reason. Doesn’t matter what threat they may pose to us, of course. NO funds should have been enabled to be used for this debacle.

  8. 1

    Entitled, pampered, whingers – 100% right. When did they get the right to be exempt from what the rest of the world is going through right now? If they weren’t told about quarantine here before they left wherever, that’s their fault. It apparently doesn’t matter what risk to US they pose – even DEATH! They should NEVER have been let in here in the first place. Andrews should be removed from office, and all others permitting this, for an obviously unbelievable lack of responsibility to US as Australian citizens (as he has always claimed was his first priority. Utter ROT.)

  9. 0

    Money is the motivating factor here. I think that the tennis should have been abandoned for this year. 2021 is just an extension of 2020 struggles, until we are ALL vaccinated( which won’t happen) and safer than we are at the moment.

    • 1

      All sport at all levels should have been abandon immediately, until the virus is under some sort of control. They can then show their wares, without patrons in the grounds watching (empty stadiums), until the virus has been exterminated. People first F*#k Sport. Jacka.

    • 0

      Absolutely. And now we have mutant and highly infectious strains of COVID being transmitted by not only those let into the country, but also security staff and others who have come in contact with them in the quarantine hotels! Does it really take a Uni degree to reason from cause to effect?

  10. 0

    Some of the tennis players have said that they are happy because they knew the rules before they came, its probably only a few wingers, the question of sport being the be all and end all of Australia is wearing a bit thin.
    Bloody “entitled” footbrawlers need to have their heads examined with the impression that they have of being the heroes of the nation, the are just a bunch of low life no neck drug affected domestic violence instigators and drunks all.
    The fact that state governments let them gather and play their stupid game all because of the money they bring is immoral.
    They are not special enough for the tax payer to have to pay for those stadiums so they can be seen beating each other is a joke on the 95 percent of tax payer who don’t go to these dens.
    If the footbrawl clubs want stadiums let the clubs pay for the monstrosities.
    They don’t benefit the majority of the population. Make them play by the rules of the health departments of each state like the rest of the population has to.
    To all the footbrawl fans reading this I wrote it slowly so you can keep up.
    We should have honest and clean role models for our younger generations.

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