There has been frustration, surprise and disappointment at the news that 47 tennis players will have to quarantine in their hotel rooms for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open.
The quarantine has been enforced after three people across two flights into Melbourne tested positive for Covid-19.
Former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and Heather Watson are among those who have confirmed they are impacted, while former US Open champions Sloane Stephens and Bianca Andreescu, and Kei Nishikori, are also reportedly among those affected.
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Details have emerged that the positive case on the Abu Dhabi flight was Andreescu's coach Sylvain Bruneau.
World No 53 Alize Cornet called the situation “insane” on Twitter, while world No 86 Kirsten Flipkens said she thinks every player should abide by the same rules.
Several players also said they weren’t aware that the entire plane would have to isolate if there was a positive result.
Yulia Putintseva and Sorana Cirstea both wrote on Twitter that they were not told this.
World No 12 Belinda Bencic also suggested she was unaware of this rule.
“We made our decision to come here from rules that were sent to us. Then we arrived and received an information/rule book with more/new rules that we did not know about," she explained.
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“We are not complaining to be in quarantine. We are complaining because of unequal practice/playing conditions before quite important tournaments.”
Cornet added: “We've been told that the plane would be separated by sections of 10 people and that if one person in your section was positive, then you had to isolate. Not that the whole plane had to.”
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The two-week quarantine means players may only have two days outside of their room before the Australian Open warm-up tournaments begin.
While some players faced criticism for complaining about the situation on social media, the main message was the impact the changes would have on preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year.
“It’s about the idea of staying in one room for two weeks and being able to compete after,” said world No 99 Marta Kostyuk on Instagram. “I don’t remember the last time I stopped practising for two weeks. If you fail to compete well, you will get so many comments saying, ‘you don’t practise'.
“You read all the messages after you lose saying, ‘I hope you die’, and now we have to quarantine and fulfil the expectations of some people.”
Doubles player Artem Sitak said players were aware of the risks they were taking and the strict rules that were in place.
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“We're all deemed close contact. I asked for a bike, so hopefully I'll get one and stay in shape. We'll probably be out on the 29th of January and head straight into the ATP 250 a few days after.
“Obviously not great, but that's the risk we were all taking. They kind of warned us this was going to be at the discretion of the Australian government, Australian health authorities if something like this happened. It's just unlucky that two of them contracted the virus.”
Former Australian Open Victoria Azarenka struck a more positive tone, writing on Twitter: "If you have time to whine then you have time to find solution."
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