19-year-old Jannik Sinner will join Rafael Nadal and several other top players in the Adelaide quarantine bubble ahead of next month's Australian Open, according to his coach Riccardo Piatti.
Practice partners accompanying top players is the latest puzzle amid the gigantic effort by Tennis Australia to ensure the Australian Open goes ahead. Craig Tiley, the Tournament Director and CEO of Tennis Australia, said last week that a smaller group of about 50 people, including six of the sport's biggest names, would quarantine in Adelaide.
This is supposedly due to the fact that the number of people approved to enter Melbourne for the Australian Open will exceed the permitted limit. But in exchange for allowing players to quarantine in Adelaide, the authorities required some professional tennis to be hosted in their city.
Against that background, an exhibition event titled 'A Day at the Drive' has been announced in Adelaide on 29 January, after which the players will head to Melbourne.
Besides Rafael Nadal, the other players confirmed for the Adelaide event are Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.
Tennis Australia has confirmed that the practice partners initially chosen by these players would also quarantine in Adelaide. But there has been plenty of confusion about the exact list of players who would be part of the Adelaide bubble beyond the six already announced.
On Tuesday, Spanish daily MARCA reported that Marc Lopez would accompany Rafael Nadal as his practice partner to Adelaide. However, Jannik Sinner's coach Riccardo Piatti has now confirmed to SuperTennis TV that the 19-year-old will train with the 20-time Grand Slam champion - exactly as initially planned.
"We leave and we are happy and as expected Jannik Sinner will train with Rafael Nadal," Piatti stated.
Piatti did not make any other comments though, so it remains unclear whether both Sinner and Lopez will train with Rafael Nadal at the same time or in different weeks.
Many are unhappy with the special quarantine for Rafael Nadal and other top stars in Adelaide
The Adelaide quarantine for the top players has already invited some criticism from the rest of the field.
That said, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley had asserted last week that the players in Adelaide would be subject to the same training rules during the two-week quarantine as those in Melbourne.
There has also been speculation about whether the players in Adelaide would be allowed to travel with more support staff than the maximum of 1+2 announced for those in Melbourne. Things will likely become clearer as the players begin to arrive in Adelaide in a few days.