‘Players will skip Australian Open if they are not allowed to practise during quarantine period’
Top ATP coach Daniel Vallverdu insists it will be physically impossible for players to play five-set matches at the Australian Open if they are not allowed to practice in the lead-up to the tournament.
The dates for the 2021 season-opening Grand Slam are yet to be finalised with reports suggesting that the tournament, originally scheduled for 18-31 January, could be delayed by a few weeks.
Tennis Australia has confirmed they are still in talks with the Victoria government over quarantine regulations as under current rules players, who will only be allowed to arrive in the state from 1 January, won’t be able to train for two weeks.
If the status quo remains, then players will head into the Australian Open undercooked and Vallverdu, who is currently coaching Stan Wawrinka, feels it is a no go.
“Obviously that would be the only way that it would work for the players if they’re allowed to practise,” he told Reuters during a telephone interview.
“Because they wouldn’t be able to just sit in a hotel room for two weeks and then start and play five sets in a Grand Slam. It’s just impossible physically, the risk of injury is too high.
“The only way that the players will go to Australia is if they’re fully allowed to practise during those two weeks.”
This year’s US Open and French Open were also played under strict quarantine regulations as players and their entourages were placed in bio-secure bubbles. However, they were allowed to train.
“It’s not about the fact whether they can’t cope with two weeks of quarantine like many people have done,” Vallverdu, who has also coached former Grand Slam champions Andy Murray and Juan Martin del Potro, added.
“I’m sure they can do it, but it’s more about the preparation for the Australian Open.
“So close to the event, not being able to practise for 14 days would just be not doable for them.”
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