CHENNAI: The fast unravelling preparation for the upcoming Australian Open has now hit Rohan Bopanna. As one of the travellers from a flight from Doha that returned a positive result, the organisers have now asked Bopanna to quarantine in his hotel room for 12 days. “Yes I was (travelling in that flight),” Bopanna told this daily. “So have another 12 days in quarantine now despite being negative.”
Bopanna, scheduled to play the Grand Slam with Portugal’s Joao Souza, was on a chartered flight from Doha (QR 7485). Players in that flight were sent to the strictest quarantine possible — confined to their hotel rooms — as one of the passengers in the flight had tested positive.
As per the original arrangement, Bopanna had access to the gym, swimming pool as well as the tennis court with his training partner for up to five hours every day. Now, those privileges have been removed as he has been deemed a ‘close contact’ of the passenger who tested positive.
In all, a total of 72 players, including multiple Grand Slam champions Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber, have been sent to the harshest quarantines possible. This was because of positive cases in two flights to Melbourne on Saturday. After a flight from Los Angeles had two positive cases, another positive
case in a flight from Abu Dhabi had already rocked initial preparations for the Grand Slam.
Till now, Bopanna, the World No 39, is the only Indian to be forced into quarantine. A few of the other Indians in Melbourne including Ankita Raina, Divij Sharan and Sumit Nagal are not believed to have been affected.
Even as players who were forced to quarantine hit out at the organisers, the Australian Open organisers assured that the Major will go ahead as per schedule, beginning February 8. “We always knew there would be a significant risk with this pandemic, you can never tell,” Tiley told Channel Nine television. “But the
Australian Open is going ahead and we will continue to do the best we possibly can to ensure those players that have what is not a great situation, one that is somewhat acceptable.”