Putintseva practices rallies off hotel wall in Australian Open isolation as Novak Djokovic is shut down for demands list
NOVAK DJOKOVIC was shut down after submitting a list of demands for tennis players forced to isolate in hotel rooms.
The Serb, 33, made his anti-vaccination stance clear last year before catching Covid at his disastrous event.
But he's made a set of demands to Aussie authorities after 72 players were told them cannot leave their hotel rooms following positive cases on their flights Down Under.
His demands reportedly included fitness and training materials, better food, reduced isolation period and permission to see coaches.
He also asked for players to be moved to private houses with tennis courts and gym facilities.
But Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said: "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.
"I'm here not so much to be opining about how in touch with the real world these people are. That's not my job. My job is to make it very clear. People were told what the rules were (before they got here).
"The advice was, 'It's not easy, it has to be done properly'. Despite commentary from players about what they'd like to do, it's about what needs to be done."
Fitness & training materials in rooms
Better food for athletes
Reduce number of days in isolation and more tests to confirm players are Covid negative
Permission to visit coach and be on same floor of hotel
Move players to private houses with tennis courts and gym facilities
(Source: Punto de Break)
The Australian Open – set to begin on February 8 – descended into further chaos overnight as 72 PLAYERS were forced into hard quarantine.
Melbourne – where the Australian Open is held every year – spent over 100 days in lockdown between July and October last year.
Australia has recorded 28,721 Covid cases and 909 deaths since the outbreak began.
Djokovic caught Covid last year after an outbreak at the Adria Tour in Croatia and Serbia last summer – which he helped organise.
Players were not required to social distance and were seen playing basketball and dancing at a nightclub.
Fellow players in that tournament Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki also caught the virus.
Australian sport reporter Sean Callahan tweeted: "I hope Djokovic gets a true Australian answer to his letter… yeah nah.
"Last person in the world I'd be taking advice on COVID protocols."
And broadcaster Shane McInnes said: "It's fair to say Djokovic's opinion on Covid-19 protocols count for zilch."
A fan tweeted: "He partied when there were Covid restrictions. He should not have been allowed in Australia and now he is he can suck it up."
And another said: "He quickly forgot the Covid disaster he created last year in his native country?"
Another social media post read: "A Covid Denier, anti-vaxxer calling the shots sounds reasonable."
Kazakh star Yulia Putintseva has resorted to practicing rallies by hitting a ball against her hotel room wall.
On Saturday it was revealed 47 stars, including Britain’s Heather Watson, were unable to train during their 14-day mandatory hotel stay due to four positive Covid-19 tests on two flights.
Tournament bosses announced a travelling coach of support staff had tested positive for coronavirus on a separate Melbourne flight from Doha, Qatar – despite testing negative before travelling.
The 25 players on that plane from the Middle East, believed to be mostly qualifiers, are not allowed to exercise outside their rooms for the next two weeks.
Players subjected to locked-in quarantines have been slammed by authorities for OPENING their doors to communicate with others on their floor.
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This is a clear breach of Covid-19 rules and an embarrassment to Aussie Open chiefs who has promised the tightest restrictions in the world.
Images of world No.1 Djokovic laughing and smiling on an Adelaide balcony has not gone down well – fuelling feelings that the top stars are getting preferential treatment.
Tennis aces have posted videos and pictures of themselves training in their rooms to maintain optimum fitness.
The Brits have been occupied – Jo Konta has been stretching, Katie Boulter has done yoga with a view of the Melbourne skyline and Watson has run 5km!
Steadfast Craig Tiley, the Australian Open CEO, has no intention of moving the Slam back from its revised February 8 date.
He said: “Ideally this is not what we wanted. We knew there would be risk with this pandemic. We made that clear at the beginning.
“We had 17 planes from seven different cities around the world and they were not more than 25 per cent full in case someone was positive. We hoped every flight would be okay.
“Our first objective is everyone remains healthy as possible and is not the cause of further spread within the bubble.
“We are reviewing the schedule leading in to see what we can do to assist these players.
“We are planning on February 8. We are looking forward to welcoming fans. We will continue with those dates.
“The Australian Open is going ahead and we will continue to do the best we possibly can do to ensure those players have the best opportunity.”
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