Australian Open players frustrated by quarantine after positive cases

Several Australian Open tennis players have expressed frustration at being confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks after people on their flights tested positive for coronavirus.

Dozens of players will not be able to train as much as other competitors in the lead-up to the tournament, which begins in Melbourne on 8 February.

At least nine people – including one player – are infected, officials said.

Organisers said the event would go ahead as planned.

They insisted they had made the quarantine rules clear, despite objections from some players who said they might not have attended had they known the rules.

At least 72 players are stuck inside their rooms in hotel quarantine in Melbourne.

They were on three of about 15 chartered flights which have brought over 1,200 players, staff and officials to the tournament.

Top players such as Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, Kei Nishikori, Angelique Kerber and the UK’s Heather Watson are among those affected, badly impacting their preparations.

One of the positive cases, a coach, said he was “sorry for the consequences now on everyone’s shoulders”.

Victoria state authorities have rejected a call from Novak Djokovic – the number one men’s player and a players’ representative – for some of the restrictions to be eased.

All players taking part in the competition had to test negative before boarding flights and then be placed in designated Australian Open quarantine hotels in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Players are allowed out for five hours a day to practise on court, but those on the affected flights will not be allowed out of their room at all for 14 days.

Some players said they had not been aware of the rule that everyone on a plane had to isolate if someone on it tested positive.

Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan wrote on Twitter: “What I don’t understand is that, why no-one ever told us, if one person on board is positive the whole plane need to be isolated… I would think twice before coming here.”