Players in Hard Quarantine Underperfomed at Australian Open

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In an article on ESPN, a study showed that tennis players who were forced into hard quarantine for 14 days underwhelmed in the first Grand Slam of the year. If you don’t, remember three flights from LA, Abu Dhabi, and Doha carried players who tested positive upon arrival in Australia including a coach.

As a former player, I can only imagine how difficult it was to spend 14 days stuck inside a room without even be able to open a window for fresh air and being forced to train with a stationary bike. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised how innovative the players were, using mattresses to hit balls and the space of the room to prepare.

It still wasn’t good enough, as the research showed only one of 55 players made it to the fourth round while the rest crashed out early. One of the seeded women survived–American Jennifer Brady, who is still in the tournament.

The organizers stated that the risks were given before the players agreed, but the players didn’t agree with the statement. Many specifically mentioned it came as a shock or surprise to them when they were hit with the news and the restrictions.

Victoria Azarenka(13) and Maria Sakkari(20) both lost in the opening round, while Angelique Kerber(23), Bianca Andreescu(8), and Elena Rybakina(17) bowed out in the second round of the tournament. Five other seeded women lost in the third round, proving that not being well prepared to play such a big event can cost you.

The ESPN article cites numerous players who were very upset with the entire situation. Among them, these stand out:

Azarenka stated it’s not hard to feel impacted by the lack of training leading up to the first Grand Slam of the year.¬†Another American, Jessica Pegula, was not pleased with her first win, saying she tried everything to be prepared but it didn’t work out the way she wanted.

Kerber said she had no on-court rhythm, which comes with practice and training on court–not in a room.

Paula Badosa of Spain actually tested positive–hence she went into hard quarantine–said the tournament did a poor job explaining what could happen and criticized them heavily. She even said she would as far as saying she won’t play a tournament that requires a 14-day quarantine period because it doesn’t help her at all.

Kristina Mladanovic said what the players experienced would not be sustainable for the entire season and the reason she agreed to do it was because it was the first Grand Slam of the year.