Novak Djokovic is sitting on his hotel balcony in Adelaide, Australia on January 18, where the players were quarantined for two weeks upon arrival before the Australian Open tournament in Melbourne. Brenton Edwards / AFP / Getty Images
The quarantine controversy over the Australian Open in tennis has raised questions about whether major international sporting events can take place in the midst of a pandemic and could provide a preview of the troubles the Tokyo Summer Olympics will face.
Players arriving in the Australian state of Victoria have been placed in a 14-day quarantine before their Grand Slam games. Most were given five hours a day to exercise in strictly bio-safe bladders, but 72 players were unable to leave their hotel rooms and cannot exercise under strict quarantine rules after passengers tested positive for Covid-19 on their flights.
Some tennis stars have voiced their anger and frustration at being penned up ahead of the first grand slam of the tennis season. These include eight-time record Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic, who came up with a list of proposals to ease restrictions on the quarantine stars, including moving players to courts with better food, and reducing the number of players Number of days in isolation.
In response, Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said, “People are free to make lists of demands, but the answer is no”.
Way to Tokyo: All eyes will be on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which, although pushed back a year due to the pandemic, have decided to keep the year 2020. Athletes from all over the world to Japan will take part in the event this summer from July 23 to August 8, and the Paralympic Games from August 24 to September 5.
Japan have signaled that they are determined to continue the games. In a New Year’s address to the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, Chairman Yoshiro Mori said the preparations were going “as planned”.
Dick Pound, a former senior official on the International Olympic Committee, told CNN last week that it was unlikely that the Games could be postponed again, and therefore any additional delay would likely mean their cancellation.
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