Novak Djokovic has reportedly sent Australian Open boss Craig Tiley a letter with six points he would like actioned for frustrated players who are in lockdown in Melbourne.
A further 25 Australian Open players have been forced into hard quarantine before the season’s first tennis major, bringing the total number of competitors now isolating in hotel rooms to 72.
A fifth person, who had flown in to Melbourne on the charter flight from Doha, tested positive on Sunday night after arriving on Saturday.
It meant three Australian Open charter flights have now brought in passengers who later tested positive, after infections on planes from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi.
The players will now be confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days.
The fresh blow to preparations for the tournament comes as world No.1 Djokovic reportedly called on Tennis Australia to fulfil a list of requests.
Djokovic was the former president of the ATP Player Council but resigned to set up the PTPA (Professional Tennis Players Association).
Among the points, according to Spanish tennis website Punto de Break, Djokovic wants the days of isolation reduced, the ability for players to see their coach or trainer, and as many players as possible moved to private houses with a tennis court to facilitate training.
The Commissioner for COVID-19 Quarantine in Victoria, Emma Cassar, has already said that the quarantine program won’t be altered.
“The program is set up to keep people safe. We will not be modifying the program or watering it down under any circumstances,” Cassar said on Sunday.
Djokovic’s demands have been criticised on social media given his involvement in organising the shambolic Adria Tour, a tennis exhibition series in Serbia and Croatia held without any social distancing measures in place that resulted in positive COVID-19 cases to numerous players involved – including the Serbian himself.
Djokovic and some the game’s biggest stars including Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal are preparing for the Open in Adelaide, where they will play an exhibition on January 29.
There have been claims those players have better training conditions and were allowed to bring more staff than the one person allocated to players in Melbourne.
Despite the chaos, Tiley has ruled out delaying the tennis grand slam a second time after it was initially put back three weeks.
Cassar said police presence had been increased at the Open hotels and added that there had been cases of “challenging behaviour” from some confined players and support staff.
She cited two cases when hotel room doors were opened to have a conversation or shout down the hallway.
“There is zero tolerance for breaches,” she said.
“It’s low level but dangerous acts that we just can’t tolerate.”
Cassar warned the players and support staff could be fined up to $20,000 or repeat offenders transferred to the complex care hotel where they have a police officer stationed outside their door.