- 08 Jan 2021
The story had been partly revealed by Wolfgang Thiem, Dominic Thiem’s father, on Tuesday to tennisnet.com – then the director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, spoke on the Tennis Channel on Thursday – and confirmed that not all players will quarantine in Melbourne, some will follow the isolation procedures in Adelaide. This includes some of the world’s top stars: Djokovic, Nadal, Thiem, Osaka, Halep and Serena Williams.
“We’re facing a real challenge with the number of people we can accommodate in quarantine in Melbourne, so we asked the neighbouring state of South Australia to relieve us of 50 people,” said Tiley. “It’s not in their interest to put their population at risk by taking in people from Melbourne, but it was conceivable that they could do so before their transfer to Melbourne, and ask the players to play an exhibition match there. They will arrive directly in Adelaide. So we chose the Top 3 men and Top 3 women. They will play an exhibition match on the 29th or 30th of January.”
Craig Tiley speaks on this at 5:30 in this video:
“Every single day you wake up there’s a different set of issues.”
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) January 7, 2021
“The training conditions will be the same”
Craig Tiley assures that the idea of favouritism around issues like relaxed training conditions are “unfounded.” This had been suggested in particular by some comments on social networks. “The training conditions will be the same,” says Tiley, referring explicitly to the schedule of the players, which includes 19 hours a day in the hotel.
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Whilst Tennis Australia had no answer about the reason for the change when Tennis Majors asked them, according to our sources it is not for quarantine reasons but for their training and the quality and volume allowed.
6 players – 50 hotel guests
With 50 people moving across to quarantine in Adelaide, there have been questions over the quotas allowed for players’ companions. In Melbourne there was a limit of two people allowed per player with the Top 10 allowed four people, a figure requested in December before the State of Victoria put an end to the debates. With the six players reportedly having 50 people staying at the hotel in total, it will clearly go above the rules set out previously.
Craig Tiley did not specify whether the sparring partners identified in advance by the three players in question were part of the 50-player quota. This seems to be the case as Thiem will be bringing to Adelaide, Dennis Novak, his ATP Cup partner, as this was indicated by Thiem’s father.
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Novak Djokovic had chosen Filip Krajinovic and Rafael Nadal had chosen Jannik Sinner before the switch to Adelaide was announced. But even if the six sparring partners arrive in Adelaide with two companions each, there will still be twenty-six other companions to be divided among six tennis stars.