Furious tennis star makes a direct plea for Australian Open players to be let out of hard quarantine as they face two weeks without being let out of their hotel rooms
- Yulia Putintseva is the latest Australian Open star to complain about quarantine
- 72 players are in 14 days of hard lockdown after seven tennis-linked Covid cases
- Putintseva took a photo of herself holding a sign: ‘We need fresh air to breathe’
A tennis star from Kazakhstan has made a sign begging for the chance for players to be let out of hard quarantine in the chaotic lead up to the Australian Open.
Yulia Putintseva is the latest in a slew of tennis stars to complain about not being allowed out of their hotel rooms for 14 days, with no chance to train, in the lead-up to the year’s first Grand Slam tournament.
A total of 72 players have been forced into 14 days of hard lockdown because other passengers on their incoming flights – from Abu Dhabi, Doha and Los Angeles – had tested positive for Covid-19.
The players are at a significant disadvantage in preparing for the Open, as other players who were not on those flights are allowed out of their rooms for five hours a day to practice.
Putintseva, No. 28 in the WTA rankings, posted a photo to Instagram of herself holding up a sign that reads: ‘We need fresh air to breathe’.
Yulia Putintseva is the latest in a slew of tennis stars to slam the Victorian Government over their 14-day quarantine
The 26-year-old said she was inspired by the popular meme ‘dude with sign’ who regularly posts photos of himself with statement signs
The 26-year-old said she was inspired by the popular meme ‘dude with sign’ who regularly posts photos of himself with statement signs.
‘P.S. windows do not open. #freshairisimportant #atleast10minutesaday,’ she captioned the post.
Over the weekend Putintseva posted a video of a mouse in her hotel room to highlight the inadequate accommodation.
‘Been trying to change the room for 2 hours already. And no one came to help due to quarantine situation,’ she wrote on social media.
Putintseva said players were not warned there was a possibility players would need to isolate in hard lockdown for two weeks if there was a single positive case on board their charter flights, and several players have said they would have skipped the tournament if they were aware of that policy.
‘What I don’t understand is that, why no-one ever told us if one person on board is positive the whole plane needed to be isolated. I would think twice before coming here,’ she said.
A number of players have used social media to detail the hardships of being in lockdown.
Carreno Busta, the world No.15 who arrived from Spain, shared a picture of a salad, an apple and juice cup alongside the caption ‘really?’. Italian star and world No.17 Fabio Fognini was offered the same meal, and explained that he hoped he received something more substantial next time
Spanish tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut compared hard quarantine in Melbourne to ‘jail with Wi-Fi’.
The world No. 13 slammed the Victorian Government in an interview with an Israeli news channel.
‘It’s the same, it’s the same [as being in prison] with Wi-Fi. These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts, no idea about anything,’ he said.
Carreno Busta, the world No.15 who arrived from Spain, took to social media to share a photo of his hotel meal – a salad, an apple and juice cup – alongside the caption ‘really?’.
Italian star and world No.17 Fabio Fognini was offered the same meal, and explained that he hoped he received something more substantial next time.
French player Alize Cornet described the situation as ‘insane’ in a since deleted post.
The 30-year-old shared her frustration at the Victorian Government’s quarantine measures.
‘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,’ she wrote.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said they had tried to communicate the risk of hard lockdown but in some cases it was effectively lost in translation.
He said he held a 90-minute zoom call on Monday night with 500 players and faced the criticism.
‘There was some big hits that we took but there were also some compliments but the most heartening thing at the end in the chat there was a scroll of thank yous from all the stars and players.
‘Sometimes the minority have the loudest voices.’
Tiley defended world No.1 Novak Djokovic for appealing to Open organisers to ease restrictions in a wishlist reported on Monday, including a request to shift as many players as possible in Melbourne to private residences with tennis courts.
Djokovic’s requests were refused by Victorian government.
‘In the case of Novak, he wrote a note, these weren’t demands, they were suggestions,’ Tiley said.
Alize Cornet shared two photos taken from her own hotel quarantine stay in Melbourne
‘But he too is understanding what two weeks of lockdown means … every player coming down knew that if they were going to be close contacts or test positive that these were going to be the conditions.’
Earlier, Premier Daniel Andrews indicated some of those players in hard lockdown could have their conditions eased – and be allowed out to train – if the positive cases on their flights were further assessed and found to be latent ‘shedding’ of the virus rather than an active infection.
‘If you’ve got say 30 people who are deemed a close contact because they’ve been on a plane with a case, and the case is no longer an active case but a historic shedding, well that would release those people from that hard lockdown,’ he told reporters.
Professor Sutton said the virus could still be incubating in some of the 1200 people who landed in Melbourne for the Open from Thursday to Saturday.
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