The new Grand Slam crisis in Melbourne

After a positive corona case, 500 to 600 players and supervisors had to go into quarantine again. The Australian Open are apparently not in danger, but there is currently a lot of unrest in Melbourne.

by Jörg Allmeroth

last edit: Feb 04, 2021, 6:56 am

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The Australian Open should still go on as planned

When Daniel Andrews stepped seriously before the press in Melbourne on Wednesday evening at 10.30 p.m., the carefree life in the Grand Slam metropolis was over for the time being. And with the dreams of the old normal, of a major tournament that would be played completely unshadowed by the great global health crisis. Andrews is the Prime Minister of the State of Victoria, a man who has been criticized by a not inconsiderable part of the population for allowing the Australian Open to take place at all, with just three weeks delay.

It was therefore not surprising that Andrews reacted with intransigence to a positive corona case in one of the quarantine hotels for the traveling circus: The tennis event is “very important” for the country, but it is about even more important things like “public health”. His verdict: Around 600 from the Grand Slam convoy have to go back to the hotel quarantine for the time being – players, coaches, officials, most of whom were already among those who had been in a 14-day self-isolation until last weekend.

Australian Open are to take place

Angelique Kerber, who had been banned into stricter quarantine for two weeks because of a corona case on the charter flights to Australia, may also be among those affected again. “I have no official information on this yet,” Kerber’s manager Aljoscha Thron told this medium. According to Australian media reports, the infected person is said to be a 26-year-old employee of the “Grand Hyatt” hotel. According to media reports from Australia, the British, much more contagious mutant of the virus was discovered.

What does this mean for the Australian Open, that lighthouse project that was set up by the responsible persons of the Tennis Australia Association and tournament boss Craig Tiley with an enormous effort and considerable political lobbying? First of all, nothing, if Prime Minister Andrews was to be believed. The tournament will take place, he said in his press conference, apparently determined, “that’s why we struggled very hard.” However, his categorical statement has a big if and but factor, namely that there are more corona among the 600 members of the tennis caravan -Infected – that there may even have been an outbreak. Strictly speaking, Andrews only presented the best-case scenario during his appearance; all those involved will only be smarter when the tests that have now been arranged have been evaluated for each of the 600 Grand Slam participants without exception.

No matches on Thursday

However, one thing is already clear: the imbalance in preparation is now getting a little bigger. All games of the six preparatory tournaments were canceled on Thursday, including the decisive group game of the German men’s team at the ATP Cup against defending champions Serbia. The German selection had won their opening game 2-1 against Canada on Wednesday. However, while Alexander Zverev and his brother Mischa are apparently not affected by the emergency measures taken by the Victorian government, other professionals lose another day in the countdown to the Australian Open – after already two weeks of quarantine after arriving on the fifth continent.

Kerber, of whom it was unclear whether she had to go back to quarantine, raved about the “nice feeling” of being back on the field on Tuesday after her opening win at the Grampians Trophy against Czech Katerina Siniakova. In the past few days she had been able to move freely in her favorite city again, had driven to the beach at St. Kilda and had wondered how “normal” the stroll through the city had been. “Overall, it’s a different world here,” said Kerber. But now the world is normal again, with fears, doubts and worries. Also in Melbourne.

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Zverev Alexander
Kerber Angelique

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