Seen from France, the image surprises. Around 4,000 spectators were able to attend a tennis tournament without a mask on Friday at Memorial Drive Park in Adelaide, Australia. With beautiful people on the courts: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams, among others.
Ignoring health risks? Not at all. Because it is convenient to know that these types of scenes have already been normal in the country-continent for several months, despite the coronavirus pandemic in the rest of the world.
With its borders closed and very strict measures for all travelers from abroad (mandatory and supervised fortnight), Australia is not at all in difficulties by the coronavirus. During the last month, the average number of positive cases each day did not exceed 25. Therefore, life has gradually returned to its normal course. as reported by BFMTV in early December.
If Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams were able to play in front of the public in these conditions, it is because they are coming out of strict isolation for 14 days. This measure was applied to all participants of the Australian Open, which will debut on February 8.
On paper, they benefited from a derogation that allowed them to go out for five hours to train, in order to better prepare for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. The restrictions were even more severe for 72 players who had traveled with eight positive people. They were ordered not to go out.
The tournament-exhibition was therefore a great breath of fresh air for the guests. However, Novak Djokovic only played one set against the young Italian Jannik Sinner. Not as a health precaution, but to avoid the risk of injury. “I’m sorry. I had to do a session with my physical therapist and I haven’t felt well in the last two days,” said the world number one and Australian Open champion. “When you come out of a block of intensive training and a few days before the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, you don’t want to take too many risks,” begged the Serbian, also diminished by a blister on his right hand.
“He left for a new year”
In the evening, Spanish Rafael Nadal had the opportunity to beat Austrian Dominic Thiem (7-5, 6-4). “He left for a new year,” enthuses the Spaniard, “delighted to be back.”
The American Serena Williams, who went to the zoo with her daughter for her first outing after her quarantine, for her part faced the Japanese Naomi Osaka, third in the world. The two players stayed back to back (6-2, 2-6). Ashleigh Barty, the Australian world number 1, has played her first game in almost a year. In front of her audience, she was on a par with her runner-up in the WTA standings, Romanian Simona Halep (3-6, 6-3). The tennis season is on.