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Australian Open 2021: Dimitrov whacks quarantine whingers


Pictured here, men's tennis stars Grigor Dimitrov and Novak Djokovic.
Grigor Dimitrov says players need to look at what’s happening around the world before complaining about their hardships in quarantine. Pic: Getty

Grigor Dimitrov has taken a swipe at some of his fellow Australian Open competitors for complaining about the quarantine situations they find themselves in.

The World No.19 has urged players to put their quarantine gripes into perspective with “what’s going on around the world what’s happening outside of tennis”.

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About 1,200 participants were allowed to fly to Australia for the summer of tennis as thousands of its citizens are unable to return home due to travel restrictions.

Players are serving 14 days of isolation during which they are allowed five hours outside their rooms each day to train for the year’s first grand slam, which has been delayed by three weeks and will be played from February 8-21.

But 72 players have been confined to their rooms after passengers on the charter flights that carried them to Australia tested positive to the virus.

Some players and WAGs have hit out at the accomodation conditions, the food at the hotels, the quality of training facilities at their disposal, and even one case where a player’s hotel room appeared to have a rodent situation.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic was criticised by the Australian public and some fellow players for handing Australian Open boss Craig Tiley a list of suggestions to improve the quarantine conditions for players.

Djokovic wanted the days of isolation for players reduced, the ability for players to see their coach or trainer, and as many players as possible moved to private houses with a tennis court to facilitate training.

The Serbian star said he had earned the privilege of being able to speak on behalf of other players, while rival Rafael Nadal offered a different take by arguing that the players were lucky just to be able to keep playing tennis.

Nadal, Williams back quarantine measures

Organisers also received backing from 23-time grand slam winner Serena Williams, who has travelled to Australia with three-year-old daughter Olympia.

“It’s super, super strict, but it’s really good,” she said on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

“It’s insane and super intense but it’s super good because after that you can have a new normal like we were used to this time last year in the United States.

“It’s definitely hard with a three-year-old to be in the hotel all day, but it’s worth it because you want everyone to be safe at the end of the day.”

Dimitrov – who famously contracted Covid-19 during Djokovic’s ill-fated Adria Tour – agrees with Williams and Nadal and says those complaining need to see the bigger picture.

Tennis Australia has done a ‘great job’

“Everybody wants to get the best way to prepare for a slam. We can sit here and criticise but it won’t help, it is what it is,” he told Nine News.

“It’s an authority above us that we have no voice on and no power.

“Tennis Australia has done such an incredible job to schedule the upcoming events in the middle of a pandemic. They’ve done such a great job.

“You can have your own opinion for so many different things but you can’t forget what’s going on around the world and what’s happening outside of tennis.

“We’re a sport that needs to be outside, practising and all these things. But it’s the circumstance. We all have to, to a certain extent, make some sort of sacrifice.

“It could happen to anyone. Last year I got this virus, and I was home for three weeks.”

Nadal said he feels “very sorry” for all those players in hard lockdown but insists that everyone knew measures in Australia were going to be strict before they came.

Seen here, Rafa Nadal puts on a head band during a tennis match.
Rafa Nadal says he ‘can’t complain’ about the Australian Open quarantine situation when the global pandemic is wreaking havoc around the world. Pic: Getty

“Australia is probably one of the best examples in the world on how to react during these challenging times.

“It is normal to complain. But on the other hand, when you have a little bit of a wider perspective of what is going on in the world, you have to think ok I am not happy to be in my room for 14 days without having the chance to practice,’” he said.

“But on the other hand, you see how many are dying around the world… how many people are losing their father, their mum, without having the chance to say goodbye.

“So when you see all of this you have to stay a little bit more positive.”

with agencies

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