Okay MyBookie tennis betting community, while the 2020 Australian Open went off without a hitch as the last, ‘normal’ grand slam tournament before the deadly COVID-19 pandemic started sweeping the globe, the 2021 version is clearly going to be a challenging event when it gets underway of Monday, Feb. 8.
With the first major on the 2021 docket just over two weeks away, let’s find out what’s going in and around both the men’s ATP World Tour and women’s WTA Tour so you can continue planning your bets and place them against their Australian Open odds.
Tennis Australian Open Updates – What’s Going On Down Under?
On Wednesday, Australian government officials announced that two more Australian Open players have tested positive for COVID-19. Victoria state police minister Lisa Neville said two players and a non-playing Australian Open participant accounted for three new infections reported on Wednesday.
As of Thursday morning, a total of 10 people associated with the Grand Slam, including four players, have tested positive for the virus. However, there has also been some confusion over the exact numbers, with authorities’ test results later being reclassified as “viral shedding” from previous infections.
According to authorities, the viral shedders are not contagious. Neville said authorities were “very confident” one of the two new player infections was a case of viral shedding.
“Of the other two, it’s less clear that they’re shedding. That will be worked through, and that’s one player and one support person,” Neville told reporters.
Of Mice and Men!
In more Aussie Open news, Kazak women’s world No. 28 Yulia Putintseva was forced to swap rooms in her quarantine hotel in Melbourne after she discovered a mouse running about. After switching rooms, the still-blossoming Putintseva found out her new room was also infested.
In a video she posted on Twitter, the Kazakhstan star said: “Different room same story. Wanted to go to sleep but noooope!”
The 26-year-old followed up with another video saying: “It’s actually a lot of them! Not even 1 in my room now.”
Over 70 players and their entourages are confined to their hotel rooms for 14 days and unable to train for the Australian Open after passengers on three charter flights returned positive tests.
As a strategy to deal with any mice in hotel rooms, Victoria’s emergency services minister Lisa Neville recommended not feeding them.
“As I understand there may have been some feeding going on,” Neville told reporters.
“Firstly, we moved the particular tennis player the other day. We’ve had the hotel pest control this week and I think there may have been some feeding going on with the mice.”
I swear, you can’t make this stuff up!
In Jail Without the Bail!
ATP World No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut is clearly not happy with his conditions of being quarantined at a hotel. The rock-steady Spaniard ‘went off’ on the Victorian government’s handling of the Australian Open quarantine protocol in an interview Monday, comparing the experience to prison.
“It’s the same, it’s the same, but with Wi-Fi,” he said to Israeli television channel Sport 5 when told his Melbourne hotel quarantine looked like he was in prison. “These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts, no idea about anything. It’s a complete disaster because of that, because of the control of everything.”
Bautista Agut is currently one of 72 players in a 14-day quarantine following positive tests on three of the chartered flights to Melbourne. They are unable to leave their hotel rooms for any reason, including to train for the upcoming major. Bautista Agut insisted his anger was aimed at the government and not Tennis Australia while complaining about his inability to remain in his room for the full lockdown period.
“You can work [out] in the room, but it’s not the same,” he said. “I feel very, very tight, and I cannot imagine staying two weeks like this.”
“Bautista Agut’s comments were eerily similar to those made by WTA star Alize Cornet, who called the situation “insane” on social media. However, the sweet-swinging Cornet quickly backtracked on her comments after getting a ton of criticism from many Australians and has since deleted her tweet and issued an apology.
“After my last (deleted) tweet I feel like I need to apologize to you Australian people,” she wrote. “Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realize what you’ve been through last year and how much you suffered. I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this and I better have shut my mouth.”
Feeling For Sloane!
In more Australian Open news, American tennis player Sloane Stephens announced earlier this week that a third family member has passed away in a matter of weeks while in hotel quarantine in Melbourne. Last week the 2017 US Open champion announced the deaths of her grandmother and aunt, who both died after contracting COVID-19.
On Wednesday Stephens, who is currently undergoing quarantine, didn’t state her grandfather’s cause of death but wrote an emotional tribute on social media from her hotel room.
“My grandpa has gone to be with the Lord and the love of his life,” she wrote.
“One week apart from my grandma. Losing her was too much for his heart.”
Stephens posted footage from after her maiden grand slam triumph at Flushing Meadows in 2017 in which she can be seen calling her grandfather in tears.
“I’ve watched this video from NY about 100 times today,” she wrote.
Our hearts and prayers at MyBookie go out to the Stephens family and all those who have lost loved ones to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.