Spanish tennis bosses have apologised for requesting their Australian Open players be released from 14-day hotel quarantine early after one tested positive.
The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation on Tuesday issued a statement saying two competitors had complained.
‘(Players) were not informed about the possibility that they would be severely confined if they travelled on the same plane with a passenger who tested positive, without taking into account the physical proximity of the players affected with that positive,’ the release read.
The statement said that Mario Vilella and Carlos Alcaraz were among the 72 players in hard lockdown, unable to practice, despite returning negative Covid results.
It is evident that these two players… will not be able to compete on equal terms with the rest of the players. And it is no longer only a strictly competitive problem of this first Grand Slam. The point is that his season could be seriously damaged by a 14-day lockdown,’ the release read.
The federation said its affected players are ‘elite athletes who need to be active in order to perform and not injure themselves’.
The organisation also noted the ‘psychological damage’ that affects the athletes in a mentally-demanding sport.
Shortly after requesting TA release its players, outspoken quarantine critic Paula Bardosa tested positive, prompting the federation to release a groveling apology.
‘First of all, we apologise to Tennis Australia if our statement has at any time been interpreted as a criticism of their working methods, nothing is further from our intention,’ the new release read.
‘The RFET thanks Tennis Australia for the effort to organise, in these times so complicated by the global pandemic, the first Grand Slam of the season, something vital for our tennis players who are going to compete again and generate resources.
‘The Australian Government has demonstrated the effectiveness of its measures against Covid-19, as reflected by the evolution of the disease in this country, which is setting an example for the world.
‘The RFET wants to reiterate its solidarity with all the players who have tested positive. He also wants to support Spanish athletes who, due to different circumstances, are undergoing strict 14-day confinement.’
Ten active cases are linked to the Open and 970 people associated with the tournament are in quarantine.
Victorian authorities on Saturday reported one new case linked to the tennis tournament, a man in his 20s who is not a player.
A further three non-players – two men in their 30s and one in his 50s – have meanwhile been confirmed to have the UK variant.
Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria said all three had been in hard lockdown since they landed in Melbourne.
‘The residents arrived in Melbourne on a dedicated Australian Open charter flight on 15 January and returned their first positive tests on 15, 17 and 18 January,’ it said.