Former champion Angelique Kerber crashed out of the Australian Open on Monday and said afterwards that the two weeks she spent in hard quarantine were partially responsible.
The German was one of 72 players who were unable to leave their rooms to train on arriving in Melbourne due to passengers on their charter flights testing positive for Covid-19.
However, her American opponent Bernarda Pera was able to do some training at the tennis facilities, which the former world number one thinks contributed to her straight-sets defeat, 6-0, 6-4.
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"Of course, you feel it if you are not hitting balls for two weeks and you are not in the rhythm," Kerber told reporters after her earliest exit from Melbourne Park for six years.
"I was really trying to staying positive and doing the best out of the two-week situation but you feel it, especially if you play one of the first matches in a Grand Slam ... against an opponent who didn't stay in the hard lockdown."
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Despite that, Kerber congratulated Australia on its success in containing the new coronavirus and said she had enjoyed playing in front of fans again, however briefly - although she admitted that she might have reconsidered the long trip to Australia if she had known she would have to remain locked in her room for 14 days.
"When I look back, of course I was not planning the two weeks in hard quarantine," she added.
I don't know, maybe if I knew that before to stay really two weeks in the hard quarantine without hitting a ball, maybe I would think twice about that.
Kerber has struggled over the past two years, with injuries to her leg and a series of coaching changes. She has not made it past the fourth round of any Grand Slam since 2018, suffering first-round defeats at the French Open in 2019 and 2020, and at the US Open in 2019; as defending champion at Wimbledon in 2019, she was knocked out in the second round.
The German reached the final of Indian Wells in 2019, but that was her best performance by far in any of the WTA's Tier 1 tournaments over the last two years - she did not reach the fourth round of any of the others.
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