The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) has backflipped in its criticism of the Australian Open quarantine measures after a Spanish player tested positive for COVID-19.
Paula Badosa — who earlier complained about her strict 14-day lockdown — apologised after revealing she tested positive for coronavirus while in quarantine ahead of the year’s first major.
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She is the first female tennis player on the tournament’s roster to have a confirmed positive test and is one of 10 cases linked to the Australian Open.
On Saturday night, The Age reported that COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, who are in charge of Victoria’s hotel quarantine scheme, had confirmed three positive cases linked to the Australian Open UK virus variant, which is more highly transmissible.
Two men in their 30s and a man in his 50s were revealed as carrying the strain. None of the three are tennis players.
The news put egg on the faces of the RFET, who called out Australian Open organisers and said Tennis Australia should change the rules specifically for their players.
“(Players) were not informed about the possibility that they would be severely confined if they travelled on the same plane with a passenger who tested positive, without taking into account the physical proximity of the players affected with that positive,” the statement read.
“Mario Vilella and Carlos Alcaraz are confined in a room without being able to leave for 14 days when they have both performed multiple PCRs that have been negative.
“It is evident that these two players … will not be able to compete on equal terms with the rest of the players. And it is no longer only a strictly competitive problem of this first grand slam. The point is that his season could be seriously damaged by a 14-day lockdown.”
However, just over 24 hours later and after Badosa’s positive test was revealed, tennis journalist Jose Morgado shared a second letter from the RFET, with much softer language.
“First of all, we apologise to Tennis Australia if our statement has at any time been interpreted as a criticism of their working methods, nothing is further from our intention,” the new release read.
“The RFET thanks Tennis Australia for the effort to organise, in these times so complicated by the global pandemic, the first Grand Slam of the season, something vital for our tennis players who are going to compete again and generate resources.
“The Australian Government has demonstrated the effectiveness of its measures against COVID-19, as reflected by the evolution of the disease in this country, which is setting an example for the world.
“The RFET wants to reiterate its solidarity with all the players who have tested positive. He also wants to support Spanish athletes who, due to different circumstances, are undergoing strict 14-day confinement.”
‘TOTAL CHAOS, HORROR’: STAR HITS OUT
Multiple tennis stars have criticised the quarantine measures in Melbourne and Serbian Davis Cup captain and former World No. 12 Viktor Troicki was one of the latest to hit out.
Speaking to Sportski Zurnal, a Serbian daily sports newspaper, the 34-year-old slammed the lockdown as he attempts to resurrect his career.
“If I knew (I would have to endure a hard 14-day quarantine), I wouldn’t come,” Troicki told Sportski Zurnal.
“Total chaos, horror as far as everything is concerned. I’m locked up for 14 days, I can’t leave the room. No training, nothing. My grand slam is failing, I can’t get ready for five sets in the room.
“All preparations are failing. Two weeks of lying in bed, it is certain that I will have to get back in shape for the next month and a half. All this is creating chaos in my career.”