Tennis great Serena Williams has joined Spanish champion, Rafael Nadal, in showing support for Australia’s divisive quarantine rules.
Speaking on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Williams said there was no denying Tennis Australia’s 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement was “insane and super intense”.
But the four-time Australian Open singles champion who has been quarantining with her three-year-old daughter, Olympia, in Adelaide, maintains the self-isolation will be all worth it in the end.
“It’s super good because after that you can have a new normal like we were used to this time last year in the United States,” Williams said.
“It’s definitely hard with a three-year-old to be in the hotel all day, but it’s worth it because you want everyone to be safe at the end of the day.”
Williams, who has 23 Grand Slam titles to her name, said Australian tournament organisers were “doing it right”.
“So, Australia right now has, the last I heard, zero cases of COVID,” she continued.
“So that is unbelievable, right, the whole country? That is really amazing.”
Her praise comes amid a growing row over quarantine rules for players ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on February 8.
Watch the full interview below
About 1200 participants were allowed to fly to Australia for the summer of tennis as thousands of its citizens are unable to return home due to travel restrictions.
Players are serving 14 days of isolation during which they are allowed five hours outside their rooms each day to train for the year’s first grand slam, which has been delayed by three weeks.
But 72 players have been confined to their rooms after passengers on the charter flights that carried them to Australia tested positive to the virus.
Nadal said he felt “very sorry” for those in hard isolation.
“But when we came here we knew that the measures were going to be strict because we knew that the country is doing great with the pandemic,” the Spaniard told CNN.
“It’s normal to complain in some way but on the other hand when you have little bit wider perspective of what’s going on … you see how many are dying around the world.
“You see how many people are losing their father, their mum, without having the chance to say goodbye. It’s a real thing, that’s what’s happening in my country for example. Close people to me are suffering this situation.”
After the 14-day isolation, players will be allowed to train normally and then compete at tune-up events next week.
“The world is suffering in general, so we can’t complain,” Nadal added.
“You have to stay a little more positive. I feel that we are privileged people today, having the chance to keep doing our jobs.”