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Victorian Premier insists isolating players will not receive special treatment

Victorian Premier insists isolating players will not receive special treatment
© Reuters
A total of 72 players are unable to leave their rooms following positive coronavirus tests on three flights.

Tennis players stuck in isolation in their Melbourne hotel rooms will not be given any special treatment, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has said.

A total of 72 players are enduring 14 days of strict quarantine following positive coronavirus tests returned by passengers on three of the charter flights that arrived in the country last week ahead of the Australian Open.

Andrews was asked about a series of requests reportedly made by Novak Djokovic to help those players, including a reduction in the time spent in isolation, permission to see coaches and moving athletes to private houses with practice facilities.

Djokovic set up a player association separate to the ATP last summer and has made improving the lot of athletes within the sport a major goal.

The list received short shrift from Andrews, though, who told local media at a press conference: “People are free to provide a list of demands. But the answer is no.

“I know that there’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules. Well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came.

“That was the condition on which they came. There’s no special treatment here.”

Australian media also reported that there have been four more positive tests among people who arrived on the charter flights, including one player.

Those players who are allowed to practise began to hit the courts on Monday, but that process was not smooth either, with several players waiting for a call that never came.

World number five Elina Svitolina, Australia’s Alex De Minaur and British star Katie Boulter were among those who posted on social media about the delays.

There have been notably fewer social media posts from players complaining about their lot, which went down like a lead balloon in a city that endured one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, but Bernard Tomic’s girlfriend Vanessa Sierra has been ridiculed for a YouTube video about their quarantine experience.

In it, Sierra, who appeared on Australian Love Island, complains about the food supplied by the hotel and says her biggest concern is having to wash her own hair rather than visit the salon twice a week.

Nick Kyrgios took to Twitter to comment on the situation in a typically blunt message, writing: “Djokovic is a tool. I don’t mind Bernie but his Mrs obviously has no perspective, ridiculous scenes.”

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