Tennis great Serena Williams has praised Australia’s quarantine system despite admitting the ‘super intense’ two-week stay is ‘insane’.
The 39-year-old is currently quarantining in Adelaide with her three-year-old daughter, Olympia, ahead of the Australian Open, which will kick off in Melbourne on February 8.
Other stars including Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are also quarantining in Adelaide and are allowed out for five hours a day to train.
Victorian authorities however completely confined another 72 players to their hotel rooms in Melbourne after positive Covid-19 cases were found on flights that brought them into Australia.
Speaking to US program The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Williams applauded how well Australia was battling the global pandemic.
Tennis great Serena Williams has praised Australia’s quarantine system despite admitting the two-week stay is ‘insane and super intense’ (pictured arriving at Adelaide Airport with daughter on January 14)
Williams has praised how well Australia has battled the Covid-19 pandemic (Williams pictured in September)
‘It’s super, super strict, but it’s really good,’ the seven time Australian Open singles champion said.
‘So, Australia right now has, the last I heard, zero cases of COVID. So that is unbelievable, right, the whole country? That is really amazing.
‘It’s insane and super intense but it’s super good because after that you can have a new normal like we were used to this time last year in the United States.
‘They’re doing it right. It’s definitely hard with a three-year-old to be in the hotel all day, but it’s worth it because you want everyone to be safe at the end of the day.’
Williams will go head to head with Naomi Osaka in an exhibition match on Friday, having arrived in the country on January 14.
Similar praise was heard from the world number two Nadal, who urged those whinging about quarantine to have a ‘wider perspective’.
Williams shared an adorable snap of her three-year-old daughter Olympia while in quarantine in Adelaide
Williams (pictured in Paris in September) will go head to head with Naomi Osaka in an exhibition match on Friday, having arrived in Australia on January 14
Nadal pictured wearing a mask during a French Open match in September. The Spaniard said his sympathy for the players in hard quarantine only went so far
Novak Djokovic last week issued a list of demands calling for the hard quarantine rules to be eased, but Nadal said players should be grateful Australian authorities let them into the country in the first place.
‘Of course it is a different situation than usual, but at least we’re here,’ the Spaniard told CNN on Tuesday when asked what the last two weeks had been like.
‘We’re going to have the chance to play here, and the world is suffering in general. So we can’t complain.
‘We only can say thanks to Tennis Australia, to the Australian community, to welcome us and accept us to come, because I know they have been under very strict measures for a lot of months. For us it is good at least that we can keep playing tennis.’
Yulia Putintseva, No. 28 in the WTA rankings, last week posted a photo to Instagram of herself holding up a sign that reads: ‘We need fresh air to breathe’
When asked for his thoughts on players complaining about the situation, the Spaniard said his sympathy for the players in hard quarantine only went so far.
‘When we came here, we knew the measures are going to be strict because we knew that the country is doing great with the pandemic,’ he said.
‘You have a little bit wider perspective of what’s going on in the world, you have to think and say “well, OK, I am not happy to be 14 days in my own room without having the chance to practice, to go out, to do my normal preparation for a tournament”.
‘On the other hand you see how many people are dying around the world – you see how many people are losing their father, their mums, without having the chance to say goodbye.’
His response follows a host of locked-down players including women’s world 28 Yulia Putintseva lashing out at everything from the food and lack of fresh air to the inability to practice and having to wash their own hair.
Putintseva, No. 28 in the WTA rankings, last week posted a photo to Instagram of herself holding up a sign that reads: ‘We need fresh air to breathe’.
Spanish tennis star Roberto Bautista Agut meanwhile compared hard quarantine in Melbourne to ‘jail with Wi-Fi’.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic earlier appealed to Open organisers to ease restrictions in a wish list, including a request to shift as many players as possible in Melbourne to private residences with tennis courts.
Djokovic’s requests were refused by the Victorian government.
The 33-year-old later defended himself – arguing he had good intentions and wanted to use his ‘privilege’ to help other competitors who are unable to practice.
Along with the likes of Nadal and Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic is serving his 14-day quarantine in luxury apartments in Adelaide and is allowed to train for five hours a day