WASHINGTON, January 20, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is among 72 players who are in a strict quarantine after arriving in Melbourne on three flights that included COVID-19 positive passengers. The World No. 13 from Belarus, aboard a flight from Los Angeles, was among the first group of players put into lockdown because of close contact. Although she has tested negative, she is forbidden to leave her hotel to practice during the 14-day mandatory quarantine that is required of everyone who is playing in the Australian Open.
On Tuesday, Azarenka from her hotel room in Melbourne, penned an open letter that she posted on her social media channels.
Dear players, coaches, entourage and Australian community. I would like to take a moment and address some of my colleagues as well as the media around the world.
This has been a very difficult time for a lot of us that did not expect to end up in the situation we are in today, myself included. To be in a 14-day hard quarantine is very tough to accept in terms of all the work that everyone has been putting in during their off-season – to be prepared for playing our first Grand Slam of the year. I understand all the frustration and feeling of unfairness that has been coming and it is overwhelming.
We have a global pandemic, nobody has a clear playbook of how to operate at full capacity and without a glitch, we all have seen it last year. Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving!
I would like to ask all my colleagues for cooperation, understanding and empathy for the local community that has been going through a lot of very demanding restrictions that they did not choose, but were forced to follow.
I would also like to ask to be sensitive as well to the people who have lost their jobs and loved ones during this horrible time for all of us around the world.
I would like to ask all of us to have respect for people who work tirelessly to try to make our lives easier.
I would like to ask the media to please have consciousness on the impact and influence you bring to this situation and to the community.
I would like for the people in the community to know and understand that we have it as our top priority to ensure the health and safety of all the people.
Lastly, I would like for us to please try to support each other as much as someone can or is willing to.
Things are always easier when you have a compassionate environment and work together.
Once again thank you everyone for their efforts as we continue to navigate through these next few days and weeks.
— victoria azarenka (@vika7) January 19, 2021
Craig Tiley: ‘It’s game on amid a global pandemic’
Saying “We will send a signal to the world,” Tennis Australia chief executive and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley on Tuesday updated reporters on the state of the upcoming Grand Slam following a chaotic five days that “felt like one year.”
— 9News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) January 19, 2021
Doubts cast about player positives
There is a query over whether the two positive COVID-19 tests attributed to @AusOpen players are current or simply the result of shedding, with @CraigTiley stating no player was in a health hotel. https://t.co/pOJJ2WEqPN
— Courtney Walsh (@walshcee) January 19, 2021
Inside the Melbourne quarantine bubble
Now presenting: The Monroe Double Jump Challenge. 😤
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) January 20, 2021
Anyone got a spare chair? pic.twitter.com/LmircIBlGs
— LTA (@the_LTA) January 19, 2021
Elina Svitolina: ‘My favorite transition’
— Elina Svitolina (@ElinaSvitolina) January 19, 2021
Who’s on court
Felix Auger-Aliassime / First hit on RLA today
First hit on RLA today 💥🙌🏽 pic.twitter.com/t34vGLYmDR
— Félix AugerAliassime (@felixtennis) January 19, 2021
Fabio Fognini / Happy to be back on court
— Fabio Fognini (@fabiofogna) January 19, 2021
Caty McNally / Back and it feels so good
— Caty McNally (@CatyMcNally) January 19, 2021
Nadia Podoroska / En la habitación
— Nadia Podoroska (@nadiapodoroska) January 19, 2021
Another big endorsement for Naomi Osaka
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) January 19, 2021
Happy 55th Birthday, Stefan Edberg
Your day Stefan Edberg 🎂🇸🇪🎉
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2021
What they’re writing
‘Hard times for athletes’: Spanish star Bautista Agut apologises for quarantine outburst https://t.co/2fl2VCjr6m
— The Sydney Morning Herald (@smh) January 19, 2021
The trip to Australia has always been the longest of the tennis season for most of the world’s players, but never before has the destination felt more distant or foreign, writes @BenRothenberg.https://t.co/uvN8YJd1MO
— The Age Sport (@theagesport) January 19, 2021
Nearly 200 tennis personnel in Australia confined to rooms 24 hours per day for 2 weeks, not just 72 players. They all need watching out for. A more serious matter than social media antics of Bernie Tomic’s girlfriend. From today’s paper: https://t.co/81VPEf8U2m
— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) January 19, 2021
What they’re sharing on social media
Amanda Anisimova / Happy I’m healthy
It was a rough 2 weeks, but I’m just happy my family and I are healthy. I’m hoping the Australian Open can continue without many further problems 🙏🏽 if 2020 has taught us anything it’s for everyone to be looking at the bigger picture. https://t.co/YEMgR59dsK
— Amanda Anisimova (@AnisimovaAmanda) January 19, 2021
Frederik Nielsen / First practice
I had my first practice in Melbourne today and it was so nice! Thank you so much @CraigTiley, @AustralianOpen and @VicGovAu for allowing us to come and compete again this year. Considering the current state of the world, it’s quite an achievement to have made it happen.
— Frederik Nielsen (@freddienielsen) January 19, 2021