Australian Open quarantine: Rohan Bopanna to ‘Make it Count’ | Tennis News

2021-01-18 15:26:25

BENGALURU: The 72 tennis pros staring at the full, two-week quarantine in Melbourne may be faced with a perfect nightmare, but they haven’t lost their wits.
Restricted to hotel rooms for being on an airplane with a passenger who has returned a positive Covid-19 test, they are showing range. From trying trick-shots, to using glass as a practice wall and determinedly going through fitness routines.
India’s doubles ace Rohan Bopanna is signing up for a ten-day online course, most likely on sports entrepreneurship. “Make it count”, he says. A 50-hour journey from Bengaluru to Melbourne, which included a 25-hour stop-over in Doha, Bopanna was on the QR7485 charter that landed on Saturday. A passenger (not a player) tested positive, forcing the 25 players on board to go into full quarantine, which means they will not be allowed to leave their rooms, not even to practise or train.
Bopanna gave details of his journey. “You are allocated a zone and that’s where you sit, you can’t roam around the aircraft,” he said. “You can’t switch seats. In my case, the seats next to me were empty and the rows in front and behind me were empty too.”
In the last couple of days, players have pointed out that they weren’t told they’d have to do the full quarantine if one person on their flight tested positive.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said in a television interview that the medical officer had determined that ‘everyone on the flight was a ‘close contact’. Tiley added, players had been informed that should they come in ‘close contact’ of a person returning a positive test, they would have to quarantine. Bopanna said that ‘close contact’ was not defined or adequately communicated to players.
The 72 players, which includes top-20 players, will have eight-to-nine days to prepare for the Australian Open, starting in Melbourne on February 8. And perhaps only a day ahead of the warm-up events, starting January 31.
Now, faced with the daily quandary of how do you kill 24 hours, Bopanna, who has been following the fortunes of the Indian cricket team in Brisbane, has some cues. “I try not to lie down when watching TV or something on my computer, it makes you lazy,” the 40-year-old said. “I’m discovering new corners in the room. I’m cleaning, making my bed. It takes time.”
Bopanna, ranked 38, has also been stretching, doing yoga and meditating. “But there’s only that much you can do, that’s why I thought about taking the online course,” he said.
Asked if he would’ve made the trip Down Under had he known ‘close contact’ meant the whole aircraft, Bopanna said, “No. I don’t think so.”
Bopanna, like most of the tennis pros locked in, is sitting on three negative tests in the last few days. “I would’ve stayed home, spent time with my family, my daughter, given my academy more attention. There are so many things I could’ve done,” he said.
Victoria’s stringent quarantine rules have created a logistical mess. Players were allowed to pick a partner to hit within the first week of the quarantine, where they were allowed to leave their rooms to train for five-hours. Now, with 72-players behind closed doors, several others are without practice partners. “This is what it is, there’s no point being upset,” Bopanna said. “It’s a rule. I’ve done two days of quarantine, 12 to go.”

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