World number one Novak Djokovic’s calls for quarantine conditions to be eased to allow players to prepare for the Australian Open have been snubbed by officials in Victoria.
Djokovic issued a list of demands to tournament director Craig Tiley to provide support to those that have been ordered to stay in their hotel rooms for two weeks.
The number of players forced to adhere to strict quarantine rules has risen from 47 to 72 after a third chartered flight arrived into Melbourne with a passenger infected with COVID-19.
Among Djokovic’s requests include reducing the isolation period with more coronavirus testing carried out, moving players to private houses with access to a tennis court and the delivering of “decent food” and fitness equipment to their rooms.
The Serbian’s calls have been rebuffed with Emma Cassar, commissioner for COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria, insisting “It’s definitely a no from me”.
“We’re not modifying our programme,” said Cassar.
“We understand that the 14 days is really tough.
“We are here to work with the players and Tennis Australia to make that as pleasant and not impact their training as much as possible, but we’re not taking risks on community safety.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews also refused to consider relaxing the quarantine rules as the state battles to contain the spread of coronavirus.
“The rules will not be changing, because the public health advice is where those rules came from,” said Andrews.
“People are free to provide lists of demands, but the answer is no.
“I know that there’s been a bit of chatter from a number of players about the rules.
“Well, the rules apply to them as they apply to everybody else, and they were all briefed on that before they came, and that was the condition on which they came.
“There’s no special treatment here.
“Because the virus doesn’t treat you specially.
“So, neither do we.”
Djokovic has previously faced criticism over his response to the pandemic after organising an exhibition tournament across four nations in the Balkans last June with little social distancing measures in place.
The 17-time major winner later described the backlash to the ill-fated Adria Tour as a “witch hunt”.