(Reuters) – World number three Dominic Thiem said there is no great advantage for players self-isolating in Adelaide compared to conditions in Melbourne where the vast majority are serving the 14-day quarantine requirement ahead of the Australian Open.
Tennis Australia Chief Executive Craig Tiley said earlier in the week that the top players were sent to Adelaide to ensure organisers did not exceed the limit set by the authorities for people quarantining in Melbourne.
Some of those isolating in Melbourne have accused organisers of favouring the top players but Thiem said there was no real difference between the locations.
“It’s a privilege to be here in Adelaide. But it’s not that huge an advantage,” the Austrian told The Guardian.
“We get the same amount of practice time as the guys in Melbourne. It’s just not that busy on-site. It’s just that we are (fewer) players here.
“Compared to the players who are not in hard quarantine in Melbourne, we have pretty similar conditions.”
U.S. Open champions Thiem and Naomi Osaka will join Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty and Serena Williams in playing a pre-Australian Open exhibition event in Adelaide at the end of the month.
World number one Djokovic has regularly been spotted on the balcony of his hotel room in Adelaide, with videos showing him watching youngsters play, speaking to fans and dancing to music.
The Serbian said that while he missed his freedom during isolation he had no complaints.
“The first thing I am going to do on Friday morning, I’m just going to run straight to this park and I’m just going to spend an hour there,” Djokovic told Adelaide radio station Mix 102.3. “I miss being free, being able to walk around.
“Honestly it’s been a wonderful experience so far for me being in quarantine in Australia. It’s different, nobody likes to be locked up in a room for 14 days but at the same time we have been very fortunate comparing to the guys in Melbourne.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; Editing by Peter Rutherford)