In the midst of the controversy with Novak Djokovic: what is it like for Argentine tennis players to arrive and circulate in Australia?
The world of tennis welcomed 2022 with the ATP Cup. As every year, Australia is the official venue for the competition that began on January 1 and will end on January 9, a kind of entrance awaiting the main course: the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, to be held in Melbourne since the 17. But beyond the points and money that the tournament that is played these days in Sydney grants, all eyes are on Novak Djokovic and their “privileges” to enter that country, something that sparked a controversy that far exceeds tennis.
What if one is not number one in the world? How does life work in that country in the midst of the pandemic? It is convenient to review the requirements that Argentine tennis players had to strictly comply with in order to be part of this tour. First they needed a special tournament permit, which they had to present when arriving in Australia. Later, the protocols were extended with other requirements: they had to have the complete vaccination scheme, have a negative PCR before boarding the plane and another negative PCR when stepping on Australian soil. In case all the results were satisfactory, there was no obligation to quarantine at the hotel. In addition, if a person traveling on the plane tested positive, the tournament protocol required all competitors to be tested with antigens for seven days in a row.
This was what happened, for example, to Diego Schwartzman and his girlfriend, the model Eugenia De Martino, as there were several cases of COIVD-19 on the flight that took them from Argentina. Even so, according to De Martino commented to THE NATION, the protocols change according to the tournament and the state where it takes place.
On Wednesday morning in Sydney, on Tuesday night in our country, Argentina was eliminated from the ATP CUP. Both Diego Schwartzman and Federico Delbonis lost the series against Poland and Argentina wasted the possibility of reaching the semifinals. The native of Azul, 44th in the ranking, had a disappointing performance, losing 6-3 and 7-6 (7-3) against the Pole. Kamil Majchrzak, 117th and 25 years old. A while later the Little one collided with the giant Hubert Hurkacz (1.96 meters tall) and fell 6-1, 6-4.
Strolling through the city is not complicated at all, but it is very controlled. In a talk with this medium, De Martino explained that From the moment you get on an Uber or want to visit any type of place, before entering it, it is mandatory to scan a QR code that leads directly to an application. Inside it there is a form that must be completed where the name, surname and cell phone are requested. In this way, in case there has been a positive case in the same place that one was circulating, Australian Government personnel are contacted to find out if the person has symptoms or not and to follow up for a few days.
On Tuesday it became known that Djokovic received a medical exception that would allow him, beyond not being vaccinated, participation in the first Grand Slam of the year. Before the outrage of the people and the players of the circuit by the measure, the director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, was forced to speak about it and said that the number one in the world did not receive “special favors”. Beyond these words, it was Djokovic himself who announced yesterday on his Twitter account that he was traveling to Melbourne after having obtained a “medical derogation”.
The Australian Open will be the next destination for the 16 Argentine tennis players who will compete in the contest: Diego Schwartzman, Federico Delbonis, Facundo Bagnis, Tomás Etcheverry, Federico Coria, Renzo Olivo, Juan Manuel and Francisco Cerúndolo, Sebastián Báez, Thiago Tirante, Juan Pablo Ficovich, Camilo Ugo, Máximo González, Andrés Molteni, Nicolás Kicker and Pedro Cachin.
Speaking to the Australian channel Channel Nine, Tiley assured that 26 people of the almost 3,000 players and technical personnel who traveled to Australia for the competition had requested a derogation, but only a few were able to do so. “Anyone who meets the conditions has been allowed to come. There were no special favors. There is no special opportunity for Novak, ”Tiley explained. Even so, the Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, declared that if Djokovic cannot prove why he obtained a medical derogation “He will be on the next plane back home.”