World number three Dominic Thiem has admitted that the players who are under hard quarantine conditions in Melbourne will find it tougher to play at the Australian Open.
All players competing in the Grand Slam were subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on entering Australia, with a five hour window each day to practice and train.
However, due to a handful of positive COVID tests on three separate charter flights, a selection of players and their teams were placed into hard quarantine instead.
This meant that 72 players have been unable to leave their hotel rooms at all for 14 days, with no access to practice courts, training facilities or coaching.
Thiem is part of a select few players who are serving their quarantine in Adelaide, 500 miles from the Melbourne base, and some might say in preferable conditions.
Along with fellow male competitors Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Jannik Sinner, Thiem will compete in a one-day showcase as a curtain raiser to the ATP Cup and Australian Open before returning to Melbourne.
Rumblings of favourtism have emerged amongst other players and the media, with even Tournament Director Craig Tiley admitting that the top players get a better deal.
But Thiem insists the Adelaide base offers no great advantage, however he sympathises with those in isolation.
“It’s a privilege to be here in Adelaide. But it’s not that huge an advantage,” Thiem said.
“We get the same amount of practice time as the guys in Melbourne. It’s just not that busy on-site.
“It’s just that we are [fewer] players here. Compared to the players who are not in hard quarantine in Melbourne, we have pretty similar conditions.
“The only really bad and unlucky thing are the 72 players in the hard quarantine.
“For them, it’s going to be really tough to play a good ATP Cup or good tournament before the Australian Open and then a good Australian Open.
“They have a huge disadvantage, but that’s the risk we take when we go on to a plane nowadays.”
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