Tennis: Bautista Agut says hotel quarantine for Australian Open is like jail with Wifi

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) – Roberto Bautista Agut has slammed the Victoria state government’s quarantine requirements for tennis players ahead of next month’s Australian Open and said being locked down in a hotel is like being in prison.

Passengers who arrived on three charter flights have been placed into hard quarantine, including more than 70 players who are unable to train outside their rooms for 14 days before the year’s first Grand Slam starts on Feb 8.

A number of top players, including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, have questioned the need for mandatory hotel quarantine but Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said it was essential to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“It’s like (being) in a jail,” world No. 13 Bautista Agut told Israeli television channel Sport 5.

“It’s the same (as being in prison), but with Wifi. These people have no idea about tennis and about practice courts and it’s a complete disaster.

“The control of everything isn’t Tennis Australia, it’s with the government (and health officials).”

Agut, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2019, said the conditions were taking a mental and physical toll on the players.

“It’s tough and I think we have to work a lot mentally and be patient,” he added.

However, Czech Barbora Strycova, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2019, backed the strict health protocols and said she was getting on with it.

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“I’m exercising twice a day, reading some books, being on social (media) and watching TV,” she told SEN Breakfast.

“I can’t really complain. I really have to go through it and try to be as positive as I can be.”

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