Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is imploring her lock-downed tennis colleagues to show some empathy for Victorians.
In contrast to men’s world No.13 Roberto Bautista Agut who describes his lockdown as akin to being in jail, Azarenka is appealing for tennis stars to show understanding for what Victorians went through during a 112-day lockdown last year.
Some 72 players in the Australian Open field are in a 14-day lockdown in Melbourne ahead of the grand slam starting on February 8.
There have been nine positive COVID-19 cases from about 1200 tests of tennis players and support staff who have arrived in Melbourne on charter flights in recent days.
“This has been a very difficult time for a lot of us that did not expect to end up in the situation we are in today, myself included,” Azarenka posted on Twitter.
“To be in a 14-day hard quarantine is very tough to accept in terms of all the work everyone has been putting in during their off-season.
“… I understand all the frustration and feeling of unfairness that has been coming and it is overwhelming.
“… Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving.
“I would like to ask all my colleagues for cooperation, understanding and empathy for the local community that has been going through a lot of very demanding restrictions that they did not choose, but were forced to follow.”
The stance of Azarenka, who won the Open titles in 2012 and 2013, is at odds with Spain’s Bautista Agut who railed against the lockdown in an interview with Israel’s Sport 5 television station.
Bautista Agut said being in lockdown was “the same” as being in prison.
“These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts, no idea about anything,” he said.
“It’s a complete disaster because of that, because of the control of everything.
“It’s not Tennis Australia. It’s the people from the government … I feel very, very tight and I cannot imagine staying two weeks like this.”