The reigning Australian Open champion is in hard quarantine along with 71 other players ahead of the event.

The Australian Open 2021 seems to have had a rough start despite the best efforts from the officials. With just three weeks remaining for the Grand Slam to begin, the organizers have already started facing criticism from fans and experts for conducting the event amidst the ongoing COVID1-9 crisis.

Officials of Tennis Australia (TA) have already confirmed that at least five participants across three charter flights from Doha and Abu Dhabi have already tested positive for the virus, forcing at least 72 players into “hard quarantine”. Meanwhile, reigning Australian Open champion and World No.1 Novak Djokovic has also become a subject of attention with his hand-written letter addressed to TA that included demands for better living conditions for all the players stuck in hard quarantine in Melbourne.

Novak Djokovic’s list of demands in Australian Open 2021

The 33-year-old’s demands were later brought to the attention of Victorian Premier Dan Andrews, who proceeded to reject them with a curt reply.

“People are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no,” Andrews said, as quoted by various Australian media. “I know that there’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules.

“Well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came, and that was the condition on which they came,” he added. Meanwhile, although Djokovic’s demands have drawn harsh criticism from locals, a few players in quarantine are rumoured to be supporting them.

According to the Daily Mail, French player Alize Cornet and Russian World no. Yulia Putintseva said that they were not told that hard quarantine was a possibility if a single person from a flight tested positive. At the same time, Kiwi doubles player Artem Sitak confirmed that there was a video call with TA where players were warned that they may have to undergo hard quarantine in the ongoing circumstances, adding that most players chose not to be present during the call.

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