As play is about to kick off in Melbourne 16,370 kilometres away in Biella play is about to also kick off in the ATP Challenger in Northern Italy.
Andy Murray anticipated to be in Melbourne but a positive Covid-19 test pulled the plug on that and the Brit who received a last minute main draw wildcard in Biella having planned to be in the qualifying has spoken about his displeasure to the situation.
Speaking in Italy the former world number one said:
On missing the Australian Open:
“I was p***ed off that I missed the tournament and wasn’t able to go to Australia from a personal perspective, but then the wider more important point, is that it’s not just about a tennis tournament, when I am going back and giving the virus to all of my family and infecting them, I care about that a lot”
On picking up Covid-19 at the NTC
“I couldn’t pick it up anywhere else because I hadn’t left my house or the NTC for ten weeks, and then obviously there was some positive cases there, “I certainly couldn’t have picked it up from my family because they were all negative.”
“The only two places I went to were the National Tennis Centre and my house, so I know where I got it from. I am very comfortable with how I conducted myself.“
The LTA have also reacted to the comments by Andy Murray by saying:
As everyone knows this virus is and has been widespread throughout the UK. As the recent positive cases recorded in quarantine in Australia have shown, even with the strictest precautions, it is impossible to eradicate all risk of exposure either within a single location or in the wider community. We have consistently applied the stringent and appropriate restrictions, testing and other protocols for elite training centres in line with government guidance. The guidance we follow has in turn reflected the tier system and changes in national guidance. We have worked closely with Public Health England in order to keep the centre open since April for both training and as a host venue for over 1000 competitive matches across 17 tournaments on site. Our protocols are regularly communicated to everyone using the venue and we expect them to be adhered to in the player lounge and all other areas of the building. It is impossible for LTA staff to police every part of the building continuously and ultimately individuals are responsible for their own behaviour and ensuring they follow the rules to protect themselves and others.
To be honest, it was a lot of waffle.
It has been spoken about a lot that over the Christmas period at the NTC rules were not enforced and with it being the only tennis centre open many players went there. Dan Evans has also jumped to Andy’s defence saying the LTA “slackened” on their measures.
Conduct of players has been brought into question with some apparently hosting a house party, socialising without social distancing and not wearing masks and then being allowed to continue to act like this at the NTC.
Andy who is a wildcard and top seed in Biella will be up against Maximillian Marterer in the first round of the Biella Challenger on Tuesday.