A optimistic check for a resort quarantine employee earlier this week brought on play to be suspended and compelled between 500 and 600 gamers, officers and help workers into isolation. Every participant has since examined unfavorable for the virus.

When the Australian Open does get underway on Monday, two gamers can have a shot at historical past: Serena Williams will proceed her pursuit to equal Margaret Court’s report of 24 grand slam titles, whereas Rafael Nadal may surpass Federer’s tally of 20.

Neither has loved a easy run-in to the primary grand slam of the 12 months.

Nadal withdrew from the ATP Cup earlier this week with a stiff decrease again, whereas Williams was compelled out of her Yarra Valley Classic semifinal with a proper shoulder damage. She additionally admitted that the later begin date in Melbourne enabled her get better from an Achilles drawback.

Williams serves against Danielle Collins at the Yarra Valley Classic earlier this week.

Last 12 months was the primary time since 2006 that Williams had gone a complete 12 months with out reaching a grand slam last. Since her final main victory on the 2017 Australian Open, she has completed runner-up on 4 events.

“Four years without a grand slam is long, even more for Serena than for a lot of players, and we’re definitely not happy with the situation,” Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou advised CNN’s Christina Macfarlane late final 12 months.

“We expected better results, but also the situation was new and I’m here talking about becoming a mother and the consequences of it.

“Physically it has been a wrestle to return again. It took time, extra time than most likely what we anticipated, mentally too. It’s a brand new steadiness that you need to discover.”

Williams was pregnant with her daughter Olympia when she won her 23rd and last grand slam title in Melbourne. According to Mouratoglou, motherhood has allowed Williams to reassess her priorities and he notes that, while she wrestles with injuries, her desire to win burns as strongly as ever.

“Serena’s dream, since she’s a child, is to win grand slams,” he says.

“She’s devoted all her life to successful grand slams. She’s come to a observe court docket on daily basis of her life, giving all the things for that. And that is most likely the venture of her life. And it’s nonetheless. She nonetheless feels she will win.

“Of course, there are still things missing. Otherwise she would have won … But when you’re in the final, you’re touching it, you’re so close to it, you want to make it. That’s what drives her.”

Williams will face world No. 51 Laura Siegemund within the first spherical after being positioned in the identical half of the draw as a number of grand slam champions Simona Halep and Naomi Osaka.

World No. 1 and residential favourite Ashleigh Barty tops the draw, whereas Sofia Kenin will look to defend her maiden grand slam title.

In the boys’s draw, Novak Djokovic enters because the agency favourite, hoping to increase his report of eight Australian Open titles.

The 17-time grand slam winner has emerged victorious in 5 of his previous 9 grand slam tournaments and comes off the again a profitable 2020.

Other contenders embody Dominic Thiem, who claimed his first main title finally 12 months’s US Open, ATP Finals winner Daniil Medvedev and, in fact, Nadal, whose sole victory in Melbourne got here in 2009.

Djokovic is in the identical half of the draw as Thiem and US Open runner-up Alexander Zverev, whereas Nadal may face robust challenges from Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Andrey Rublev.

Nadal applauds from the side of the court during Spain's ATP Cup match.

Asked in regards to the prospect of beating Federer’s report, the Spaniard has remained measured.

“I’ve done much more than what I ever dreamed in my tennis career,” Nadal advised CNN’s Christiane Amanpour final week.

“It would be amazing for me to win one more. But I know that will not be the key for my happiness in the future. It’s not extra pressure and it’s not an obsession.

“I maintain going, doing it my means. If it occurs, improbable, but when not, I’m more than pleased about all the things that occurred to me.”

Up to 30,000 followers can be allowed into Melbourne Park every day as Australia has proven success in controlling the virus with strict border controls and hard lockdowns.
The sight of maskless crowds packed into Australian Open warmup games has been an arresting one for sports fans accustomed to seeing few — if any — spectators present at major events.

The Victoria state health department announced on Friday that it had recorded zero local cases of Covid-19 from 14,612 tests.

The positive test for a hotel worker broke a run of 28 days with no community transmission in Victoria.

Strict quarantining measures drew controversy as players arrived in Melbourne; some were placed under two-week lockdowns in their hotel rooms following positive tests on their flights and others were allowed out of their rooms for five hours each day to train in bio-secure bubbles.

Organizers subsequently amended the warmup schedule to support the 72 players placed under hard quarantines — some of whom headed straight to practice as soon as their quarantine time was over.

“12:54am — FINALLY FREE from 15 days in strict quarantine and naturally my first cease is Rod Laver Arena for midnight observe!” British player Heather Watson wrote on social media.

“I do not really feel like spending one other evening in a resort room so I feel I would simply sleep right here tonight,” she wrote in a separate put up.

After a protracted buildup, the sight of major draw matches lastly getting underway will little doubt be a aid to gamers and organizers alike.

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