The new look of the 2022 Australian Open
The 2022 Australian Open is shaping up to be very different from the tournament a year earlier, in part due to the possibility of knocking out tough quarantines as well as a changed lineup of players.
New Indian Wells champion Paula Badosa will have a radically different experience.
Previous reports have shown that in general, players in hard quarantines did not perform as well at the Australian Open as those who served “soft” quarantines.
With the widespread availability of vaccines, the Australian government and Tennis Australia are considering a plan to end hard quarantines for players who are fully vaccinated upon entering the country for the Australian Open, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Instead, fully vaccinated players and those who test negative would serve their two weeks in an “open bubble” within Melbourne Park, where they would be free to train and roam.
According to one proposal, after the two-week bubble period, players would be free to go anywhere in Australia, according to the source.
Clouds of injustice loomed over the 2021 Australian Open when 72 players were forced to serve a harsh quarantine – grueling 14 days inside a hotel room, with no option to leave, s ‘train, open a window or even feed rodents inside rooms that were the only company of some players.
Other players, including a handful of big stars like Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic, were free to train and were not so severely confined because they had been brought to Australia earlier for exhibitions or because their charter flights were COVID-free. .
Badosa was one of the unlucky ones. She tested positive for Covid after taking a charter flight in which some passengers were infected and spent 21 painful days in detention.
Spain’s Badosa said the lockdown had significantly hampered her preparations and that she would never again serve as a hard quarantine before a tournament.
However, now with the widespread use of the vaccines, Australian officials are committed to public health measures that will also take into account the mental health of gamers.
Who will play
A vaccination warrant for all players, which was discussed by a senior government official on Tuesday, presents a serious dilemma for players opposed to vaccination, warrants, or both.
Unvaccinated players should consider whether the opportunity to play in a Grand Slam is more important, or if their personal and political beliefs about vaccination are more important.
It’s a tough call that wasn’t on the table in 2021.
Not only will players have to decide if they want to play, but their vaccination status will also be known to the public based on their attendance at the draw.
Players like Aryna Sabalenka have so far refused the COVID-19 vaccine. The World # 2 said she doesn’t trust the vaccine. She tested positive for COVID in October, forcing her to miss Indian Wells.
The most prominent player not to fully endorse the vaccination is Djokovic, who declined to reveal if he got the shot. Even Daniil Medvedev expressed his skepticism about vaccines earlier this year, and his status is unknown.
Whatever happens by January, the 2022 Australian Open draws could be drastically different.
Main photo by Getty.