Johanna Konta says she feels like one of the “lucky” ones, as her quarantine period reaches its conclusion ahead of the Australian Open.
The British number one is on day 13 of her fortnight-long stay in a hotel, where she is able to train on court for small periods each day. Having grown up in Sydney, it has been the strangest trip Konta’s ever had on her return to the country of her birth.
"This has definitely been a very different Australia trip so far but the end is in sight for our quarantine period," she told ITV's Lorraine programme. "Hopefully once that ends we can get back to some normality.
Konta pulls out of Chicago, Indian Wells with groin injury
I am actually in the lucky group that is able to go out for five hours a day to practice, we have about two hours court time, an hour and a half gym time and then an hour to get food and basically get ready to come back.
Seventy-two other players, like Konta’s compatriot Heather Watson, have had to isolate in their rooms, having arrived on flights which carried passengers who eventually tested positive for coronavirus.
"I have been very lucky, we have a number of players here who unfortunately have to be in hard lockdown, meaning they haven't left their rooms for about 12 days now," she said.
"One of them is Heather so I have been trying to check in with her but she is doing a phenomenal job in making the best of a tough situation.
Djokovic dances on balcony during quarantine
"It is a very different experience, it is not something I have experienced before and hopefully I won't have to do too much of this again in the future.
"Even those five days for me were tough so I can only imagine what Heather is feeling on day 11 or 12, whatever she is on. All credit to her."
- Six tournaments, one week: Preparations ramp up for Australian Open
- Australian Open 2021: Who's in, who's out, what is hard quarantine?
Konta’s linked up again with coach Dimitri Zavialoff, who helped her reach the semi-finals of the French Open and the quarters at Wimbledon and the US Open.
After a 2020 season affected by a knee injury, she’s feeling fit for the year to come.
"I am feeling really good, being in this situation of the limited amount of training and quarantine, it put things into perspective”, said Konta.
I feel very lucky and very healthy suddenly. With my knee it is an ongoing process that I continue to manage, as an athlete you manage a lot of things with your body. Overall I am feeling good.
There will be limited numbers of spectators permitted to attend the first Grand Slam of the year, due to the relatively low case numbers of Covid-19 in Australia.
It’s something Konta can’t wait to experience again: "I feel very grateful and very lucky as an athlete to perform, to work, to compete and not a lot of people can say that," she said.
"I am looking forward to the opportunity of playing, hopefully playing in front of a crowd.
"We are being told there is an opportunity of us having a decent crowd, we haven't experienced that for many months, just shy of a year, so that will be a treat.”
Konta knocked out in first round of Cincinnati Open; Norrie also beaten at pre-US Open tournament
Knee injury ends Konta’s Canadian Open