The first grandslam tournament of tennis player Botic van de Zandschulp has a nasty run-up for him. He was on one of the corona airings to the Australian Open on Friday and has to be in isolation for two weeks.
This means that Van de Zandschulp – like 71 other players who have been near an infected person during their flight – is not allowed to finish his hotel room.
Facetims with Van de Zandschulp
“ Im sitting in my room for the third day. Unfortunately, a person on my flight was tested positive. There are all police in front of the hotel, we are being watched closely”, says Van de Zandschulp via Facetime. “I think I cant train is the worst thing.”
All safe tennis players in Melbourne – such as Robin Haase, Arantxa Rus and Wesley Koolhof – also have to be quarantined for two weeks, but not in isolation. They are allowed to train five hours a day at the tennis park.
Tournament Director Craig Tiley announced that despite the growing number of players in isolation, the Australian Open will simply start on February 8.
On three flights to Melbourne, coronas were detected on arrival. Van de Zandschulp joined Doha on Friday, where he finished the qualifying tournament for the Australian Open.
“ Then it was a party. And then here too, because on Saturday morning I also tested negative on my arrival”, says Van de Zandschulp. “And then I got a message on Sunday night that another passenger has been found positive.”
Among the 72 isolated tennis players are also established names such as the Japanese Kei Nishikori, two-time tournament winner Victoria Azarenka from Belarus and the American Sloane Stephens, who won the US Open in 2017.
The absolute top players, such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, prepare for the Australian Open in Adelaide.
Van de Zandschulp will be able to participate in a preparation tournament for the Australian Open in Melbourne in two weeks, but training for a week seems to him a better idea.
“ I think that would be wiser than playing a match immediately after two weeks. This is a setback, but Ill try to make the most of it in three weeks.”