World No. 2 Rafael Nadal and last year’s Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem have both suffered setbacks, with their coaches unable to make the trip Down Under for the year’s first tennis Grand Slam.
Players and officials are required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia before they participate in warm-up events from Jan. 31 at Melbourne Park, where the major will be held from Feb. 8-21.
Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya, a former world No. 1, said he would not be travelling to Australia due to the strict health restrictions. “After speaking with Rafa, we have decided that I won’t travel to Australia with the team,” he said in a social media statement. “I will follow the tournament from home and will stay with my family, parents, and kids due to the delicate situation that Spain is living with the virus. Best of luck to the team.”
Nadal, Thiem, and Djokovic will be some of the top players quarantining in Adelaide. They will then head to Melbourne for the team-based ATP Cup and the Grand Slam. Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu of Chile was not on the flight to Australia, having tested positive for the novel coronavirus. “Before we took off, we received the surprising message from Nicolas Massu that he had a positive test,” Thiem’s father Wolfgang was quoted as
saying by Austria’s Kurier daily. “Nico will be tested again in a few days. We hope that he will be negative then and he will be able to follow suit soon.”
Nadal, who is currently tied with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slam titles, will look to win in Melbourne and go one up. Federer will not be playing in the Australian Open this time around, citing a need to regain fitness following two knee operations.
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