Australian Open 2022 – Quarantine, close contacts, tests: what are the rules and will Novak Djokovic play?
Tennis players and officials land in Australia this week as they prepare for the start of the 2022 season.
Around 3,000 people associated with the Australian Open are expected to land across the country, with warm-up events taking place in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said the 2022 Australian Open was ’10 times’ harder to host than this year’s edition – and players have already tested positive upon arrival. .
But after long quarantines of hotels and mouse infested rooms in Australia earlier this year, what are the rules for gamers this time around and what could happen over the next few weeks?
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No vaccine, no entry
Before even thinking of setting foot in Australia, players should have been vaccinated.
After much speculation and exchanges between various officials, the Victorian government has decided that there will be a Covid-19 jab warrant for athletes competing in the Australian Open. The rule also applies to players participating in the warm-up events in Sydney and Adelaide – no jab, no entry, unless there is a medical exemption.
ATP Executive Vice President of Communications Simon Higson recently revealed that 95% of the top 100 male players are vaccinated.
For some players, like doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert and young Australian Olivia Gadecki, the vaccine was a sticking point and they decided not to go to the tournament. Herbert, who won the men’s doubles title at the Australian Open in 2019, said it was a “personal choice not to get the shot”.
Speculation continues to rage on whether world number one Novak Djokovic will play the Australian Open.
Djokovic has not disclosed his vaccine status and it has been reported that he has withdrawn from the ATP Cup, which begins on January 1. He is entered in the Australian Open draw, but there remains a question mark as to whether he will play.
“If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, either he will be vaccinated or he will be granted a medical exemption,” Tiley said last week.
Vaccinated? Check. Next stop, the flight.
About 20 charter flights organized by Tennis Australia are expected to land in Melbourne and Sydney this week.
To board a flight, a passenger will need to provide proof of a negative test within 72 hours of the flight. Charter jets have been organized by Tennis Australia in an attempt to minimize the risk that players could present when traveling alongside members of the public. They will arrive in Australia from all over the world, including Dubai, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Players were given the option of going on charter flights or traveling commercially.
World No.14 Denis Shapovalov was one of the first players to arrive in Australia last week, but could miss the ATP Cup as he has to self-isolate for 10 days after testing positive for Covid-19. His Canadian teammate Felix Auger-Aliassime also took the trade option and arrived in Sydney on Monday.
Players are tested upon arrival and must then self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
What about close contacts?
Where the rules differ greatly from the start of this year is when it comes to close contact.
When players landed for the 2021 Australian Open, protocols were so strict that entire flights were classified as close contact. This meant that if there was a positive case on the flight, the rest of the people on board had to go into a 14-day quarantine.
This time around, close contacts will only have to isolate themselves until they return a negative test result.
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Where do the players stay?
Like last season, accommodation has been set up for the players.
All players competing in Melbourne will stay in the Crown Towers to limit risk to the general public.
“It will be one of, if not the safest place in the world in January, because of this rigorous process that everyone has gone through to get here at the compound,” Tiley said.
“All the players are staying in the same accommodation, so we have a minimized risk environment at the Crown and they will stay there as a group. There will be testing on site, we will manage their trips and they will get directly into the cars.
“So in 2021 we wanted to protect the gaming community, which came from virus-ravaged environments and we didn’t have it. In 2022, this is to prevent players and our customers on site from receiving Omicron or any variant of the virus. “
Despite the arrangements, Tiley still expects positive test results and advised players to stay in their own rooms to avoid the risk of quarantine if a roommate tested positive.
“If they share a room with someone, or if they’re in the same apartment and one person in that group is positive, everyone in that room or apartment has to self-isolate for seven days. So the advice we gave to players is simple: “Get your own room. “
Will there be a crowd limit?
Not as it is.
The Australian Open and all warm-up events are expected to be running at full capacity, and Tiley said there was “no expectation of a crowd ceiling”. However, that could change as it did earlier this year when fans were banned for five days after Victoria state entered a five-day lockdown.
Who could miss the tournament?
Most of the players who took part in the Mubadala tennis championship in Abu Dhabi saw their preparations disrupted by a positive test result, including Emma Raducanu, Rafael Nadal, Belinda Bencic, Andrey Rublev and Ons Jabeur.
Nadal questioned his participation, saying he couldn’t “guarantee” he would play, although Tiley said he was confident the 35-year-old would be there.
Serena Williams, Jennifer Brady, Karolina Muchova, Karolina Pliskova and Dominic Thiem have withdrawn due to injury while we still have to wait and see with Djokovic. Defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka has traveled to Australia as she prepares to play for the first time since the US Open.
The 2022 Australian Open will take place January 17-30.
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