Ashleigh Barty’s coach has expressed frustration at “ridiculous” quarantine rules in Australia that have meant the world No 1 has had to spend the last two weeks in a hotel rather than at home.
Having been away from home since March, Barty finally returned to Australia in late September.
According to the Australian Associated Press she was denied a home quarantine period on arrival, despite testing negative for Covid-19 on at least 68 occasions this year.
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“For travellers coming back, if you're an Australian overseas, they don't make it easy," said Barty’s coach Craig Tyzzer.
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"You can't get flights, it's ridiculously expensive and you've got to do two weeks' quarantine in a hotel where you can't open windows.
"You get tested basically the same amounts in the tournaments, both players and their teams. So we were up to 68 when Ash left for London and I left to come home to Australia.
"It's part of what we had to put up with this year. It's not much fun. You know at least everybody around you and in the tournaments are safe and Covid-free so it certainly enables you to operate. But to come back and do another couple of weeks (in quarantine) after two tests and finding out you're negative, it's a bit ridiculous."
Current Australian rules state that all international travellers entering the country need to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility.
Barty is set to decide whether she will defend her title at the season-ending WTA Finals, which have been moved from China to Mexico due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
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It appears unlikely she will, given she has withdrawn from Indian Wells and the Billie Jean Cup, and playing in the finals would disrupt her preparations for the Australian summer.
If Barty did compete in Mexico she would have to complete a second fortnight in quarantine upon her return to Australia in mid-November, which would impact her pre-season planning ahead of the Australian Open, which starts on January 17.
"Obviously having the right (Australian Open) lead-up is ideal. Being able to get a pre-season in is massive," said Tyzzer.
"So obviously the more time we get to work on the things we need to work on and progress in this sport will give us the best opportunity coming into the summer, that's for sure."
Tyzzer also said some players will be reluctant to travel to the 2022 Australian Open if there are strict quarantine rules in place.
Earlier this year, players had to spend most of their time in hotel rooms upon arrival, and this time around they are likely to be staying in bio-secure bubbles.
"I know that players won't come out if they have to quarantine," said Tyzzer. "There's already quite a few who we've spoken to who have said if it's like last year, they're not coming.”
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