If recent reports are to be believed, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is unhappy about the difference in quarantine facilities at Adelaide and Melbourne. The top stars on the men's and women's side will undergo their mandatory quarantine in Adelaide rather than Melbourne, and Djokovic is reportedly concerned about the fact that the lower-ranked players will not have the same luxuries as those in Adelaide.
By the coming weekend, players from several locations around the world will be chartered into Australia on flights specifically arranged by Tennis Australia. While the initial plan was for all players to quarantine in Melbourne under the same conditions, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley confirmed earlier this week that the top 3 ranked men's and women's players will quarantine in Adelaide instead.
The players confirmed by Tennis Australia as of now include Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Serena Williams, Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka, with the possibility of a couple of more being added. These players will also play an exhibition event in Adelaide after their two-week quarantine, before heading to Melbourne.
What has set the alarm bells ringing among the players, however, is the difference in restrictions for those who will be part of the Adelaide quarantine compared to those in Melbourne. As per the conditions outlined for the Melbourne quarantine, a player can be accompanied by a maximum of two persons on the trip. They will also be allowed to leave their hotel room for only up to five hours a day for training and dining, and can be accompanied by only one person from their team during this time.
But the players in Adelaide could likely be accompanied by additional members on the trip, and those members might also be allowed to leave the hotel room during the five-hour window. The Adelaide players are also reportedly going to have access to a 24-hour gym inside the hotel, which will not count towards their five-hour window.
Jeremy Chardy recently criticized the unequal treatment of players participating in the same tournament, questioning why the big stars were being given even more privileges than they already have. And now Novak Djokovic has also reportedly expressed disagreement with the apparent favoritism, in a terrific show of selflessness.
Novak Djokovic's role in the PTPA puts him in a conflicted position over the Adelaide bubble
With Novak Djokovic being confirmed as one of the players who will take part in the Adelaide exhibition, it means that he will quarantine in Adelaide along with the rest of the top players.
As a player chasing the record books, Novak Djokovic would personally want to choose the conditions that would help him maximize his performance in Australia. But as the leader of the Professional Tennis Players Association, Djokovic likely finds himself torn between his different goals.
The PTPA was set up to ensure better playing conditions for the players, with specific focus on the lower rank-and-file. The Adelaide quarantine for the top stars is in direct contravention of that objective, so it will be interesting to see how the Serb deals with the peculiar circumstances.