Novak Djokovic has received an overwhelming no from Australian officials to his request for some changes to the quarantine rules for players in isolation.
The ongoing situation in Melbourne means that now 72 players are currently unable to leave their hotel room for 14 days with no access to training equipment or a practice court before the first Grand Slam of the year.
Djokovic had reportedly personally wrote to CEO of Tennis Australia and Tournament Director Craig Tiley asking for some adjustments to the rules.
The Serbian’s letter asked for a shorter quarantine period, access to physical trainers and coaches, suitable food for elite athletes and potential movement of the players to private house with tennis courts.
But in an interview with Melbourne radio station 3AW on Monday morning, COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria commissioner Emma Cassar said simply “It’s a firm no from me.”
“We’re not modifying the program,” Cassar continued. “We understand the 14 days is really tough, but we’re not taking risks on community safety.”
There has been some discrepancy amongst the players about whether they were fully aware of the restrictions which would be imposed in the event of a positive COVID test.
Specially chartered flights were divided into compartments and some players thought only the isolated section would be quarantined not the full flight, but officials deny any confusion.
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “I know that there’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules,” he said.
“The rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came. And that was the condition on which they came.
“There’s no special treatment here. Because the virus doesn’t treat you specially. So neither do we.”
In a scathing reference to Djokovic’s letter, Mr Andrews continued “People are free to provide lists of demands but the answer is no.
“And that was very clearly put. That was very clearly laid out beforehand,” he said.
“The notion that there’s been any change, the notion that people weren’t briefed – I think that that argument really has no integrity whatsoever, and don’t just take my word for it.
“You’ve got other players, who I think on social media and in other forums have made it clear that they were clear on the rules.”
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