My last blog post was about the hypocrisy of sport and politics. I talked about the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in particular. So, an update. As the players and their support people have flown into Australia on chartered flights, several flights have had people test positive for COVID-19.
Now, just to recap. The #AusOpen is in Melbourne. Which was the site of our biggest COVID outbreak halfway through last year. It was also the site of one of the strongest lockdowns in the world, which resulted in almost complete elimination of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2. To put it into perspective, the entire nation had ten (10) new cases of COVID-19 today, all of which were overseas acquired, and consequently in hotel quarantine. We are still working on an outbreak in Sydney, I might add. (So we’ve only had two days of zero cases in the community.)
Despite my frustration that this tournament is going ahead, I am surprised, while also not surprised at the attitude of some of the players and staff. Australia’s current rather enviable status of very small community transmission has been hard won. The entire population has been, for the most part, very much on board with upholding restrictions and health directives, and locking down as required. It turns out that we do actually care about the greater community.
So when some of the players complained about being locked down in hotel quarantine as close contacts of the cases in the aeroplanes, or demanded that they be housed in houses with tennis courts, Australia has mostly looked at them with little, or in fact, no, sympathy.
Some players have compared their rooms to prison. Others have whinged about the food. You can read about some of the issues here. You can read about others here. And Novak Djokovic (anti-vaxxer, distributor of COVID himself) probably shouldn’t have opened his mouth.
You have to remember that some Australians cannot yet come home due to caps on returns, closed borders, and few flights. Yet we have whinging players, who, at the very least, will earn $100,000 just for playing one round of tennis, complaining about the bits and pieces they neglected to read in the contracts and rules for attending this tournament. By all accounts, the information was available. They simply chose not to read it or attend briefings.
And even Nick Kyrgios has weighed in again. He’s a bit embarrassing if you’re an Australian, but for the second time in a year, I find myself agreeing with him. I mean, it’s a weird day if you agree with much he has to say, but for whatever reason, during COVID-19, this rather bad boy of Australian Tennis, has begun to speak sense.
But seriously, #AusOpen whingers. Suck it up. If you didn’t read the fine print, you only have yourselves to blame. And don’t complain when you’re the privileged few who’ve been allowed to enter our country, under the same rules as returning Australians, but with extras added to make you more comfortable. Consider yourselves fortunate. Some of them are still trying to find a flight to get home.