Djokovic, Nadal and Serena Williams land ahead of Australian Open quarantine

Djokovic and Nadal landed in Adelaide (Picture: AFP via Getty)

Tennis’ biggest stars, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams have arrived in Adelaide as they begin their mandatory two-week quarantine period ahead of the Australian Open.

The trio will feature at an exhibition event, which boasts a star-studded field, at the Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on Friday 29 of January.

Fellow Grand Slam champions Dominic Thiem, Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep are among those who have also signed up to ‘A Day at the Drive’.

Before they feature in the exhibition, they will undertake a 14-day quarantine period – as will their fellow stars who have flown straight to Melbourne. Around 1,200 players, coaches and officials will jet in to Australia this week.

Tournament director Craig Tiley explained why some of the game’s biggest stars will quarantine in a different state last week.

‘We’re right up to the edge on the numbers of people we’re allowed to quarantine in Melbourne so we needed some relief, so we approached the South Australia government about the possibility of them quarantining at least 50 people,’ Tiley told Tennis Channel.

Williams arrived with her dauhter and husband (Picture: Getty)
US Open champion Osaka arrived in Adelaide (Picture: AFP via Getty Images)

‘But they wouldn’t have any interest in doing it because there’s no benefit to them to put their whole community at risk. But it would be a benefit if there was an exhibition just before Melbourne.

‘The premier there agreed to host 50 people in a quarantine bubble and have those players play in exhibitions. So we chose the top three men and top three women, and they’ll play an exhibition on January 29 and 30.’

After competing in the Adelaide exhibition, Djokovic, Nadal and Thiem are signed up to take part in the ATP Cup on February 1.

Djokovic guided Serbia to victory over Nadal’s Spain in the first edition of the event last year. While this year’s ATP Cup is reduced in terms of teams and tournament length, it still boasts 14 of the top 15 players in the world.

One man whose involvement in the Australian Open has been thrown into doubt is Britain’s Andy Murray. The three-time Grand Slam champion has tested positive for coronavirus.

He still hopes to be involved at the year’s first major once he has finished his self-isolation period in the UK and fully recovered but he will be unable to take part in any of the other warm-up events taking place in Melbourne.

Murray would need to arrive in Melbourne by January 24 if he is to finish his mandatory 14-day quarantine period before the start of the Australian Open, although there are question marks over who he would be able to practice with during the isolation period upon arrival – if he’s even allowed into the country at all.

The Scot is understood to be working closely with Tennis Australia and Tiley in a bid to compete.

A statement from Tennis Australia read: ‘Andy Murray has advised that he has tested positive to Covid-19 and is isolating at home in the UK.

‘Unfortunately this means he will be unable to join the official AO charter flights arriving in Australia in the coming days to go through the quarantine period with the other players.

Murray still hopes to compete in Australia (Picture: Getty)

‘The AO fans love Andy, and we know how much he loves competing here in Melbourne and how hard he’d worked for this opportunity.’

There have been strict protocols put in place by tournament organisers after months of negotiations with government officials but Murray’s hopes of flying in were boosted by some leniancy shown to American player Tennys Sandgren overnight.

The former Australian Open quarter-finalist tested positive for Covid-19 in Los Angeles but was still allowed to board one of the flights. He had contracted coronavirus in November and Victoria health authorities were satisfied he was not contagious and is instead shedding viral particles.

One superstar who won’t be involved is Roger Federer, who decided against the trip as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.


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