Tension is high ahead of the 2021 Australian Open. Players are frustrated because of strict COVID-19 measures and the fact that a great number of them aren’t allowed to leave their Melbourne hotel rooms for 14 days. A seemingly regular clip from Naomi Osaka‘s Adelaide practice session further fueled the discontent.
Seventy-two WTA players are struggling to stay in shape while being confined to their rooms (sometimes together with mice, like in the case of Yulia Putintseva). The others are lucky to have five hours a day to train in bio-secure bubbles. However, some players, including the three-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, are based in Adelaide and they seem to be privileged when it comes to their Australian Open preparation.
A revolt broke out.
The players are not very happy for the unequal treatment in relation to big players in Adelaide.
This photo of Naomi Osaka has driven their mad. pic.twitter.com/UX8yADxz4G
— Luca Fiorino (@FiorinoLuca) January 16, 2021
The 23-year-old Osaka posted, and later deleted, an otherwise normal video from her Adelaide practice session, but it caused an outrage as it is evident that she is training with multiple team members. Italian journalist Luca Fiorino wrote on Twitter:
A revolt broke out. The players are not very happy for the unequal treatment in relation to big players in Adelaide. This photo of Naomi Osaka has driven their mad.
American reporter Jon Wertheim and tennis writer Ben Rothenberg said that fortunate players had been advised to avoid sharing information on social media, as those in hard lockdowns could get angry and jealous.
Austrian doubles player Philipp Oswald pointed out that the Adelaide-based players are privileged because they are allowed to take four team members with them, while those in Melbourne are only allowed to bring one person to practice. Moreover, those in Adelaide have a gym in their hotel, so they don’t have to use their five-hour period on fitness sessions in the gym.
Japan’s Taro Daniel told the Herald Sun that tennis has always had that disparity between top players and lower-ranked players, especially during Grand Slams.
Osaka is in Adelaide because she’s scheduled to play an exhibition event called “A Day At The Drive”, to be held at Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on January 29. Other megastars that will participate include Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Dominic Thiem. (via New York Post)