Officials are considering creating a luxury tennis hub for international players competing in the Australian Open – and will model it on the controversial set up in Queensland for the AFL.
The AFL bubble in Carrara, on the Gold Coast, has been a point of contention after photos surfaced of WAGs and officials sipping alcohol by the pool while ordinary Australians were being turned around at the border.
Queensland’s border restrictions make it near impossible for anybody from COVID-19 hotspots to enter the state, but up to 400 officials and family members of AFL players were granted an exemption.
Authorities in Melbourne are now considering creating a bubble of their own for accommodate the huge tennis tournament.
The AFL bubble in Carrara on the Gold Coast has been a point of contention after photos surfaced of WAGs and officials sipping alcohol by the pool while ordinary Australians were being turned around at the border. Pictured: The Mercure Gold Coast
WAGs and other women within the AFL quarantine hub were spotted sunning themselves on Sunday afternoon
Alexander Zverev of Germany walks on court before his US Open match wearing a face mask
Children within the hub were running around and playing ball games on Sunday
Tennis officials estimate some 2,000 players, coaches, broadcasters and teams will arrive in Australia from December onwards.
Under the proposed living arrangements, they will be housed in a luxury resort where all players and people within the hub will be free to mingle and do what they like – so long as they do not leave the resort.
Game superstars Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have both reportedly expressed interest in a hub, The Australian reported.
All players will abide by strict biosecurity guidelines, particularly given some will be arriving from COVID-19 ‘red zones’.
Tennis stars have recently completed the US Open, where more than 10,000 guests tested positive.
Queensland’s border restrictions make it near impossible for anybody from COVID-19 hotspots to enter, but up to 400 officials and family members of AFL players were granted an exemption. Picture: Mercure Gold Coast
Temperatures in Queensland reached a warm 22C on Sunday, when several women were spotted laying by the pool
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has come under fire for giving approval for 400 people to quarantine at the AFL hub but refusing to allow a young nurse into the state for her father’s funeral
However just one player tested positive during the tournament, with athletes spread across two New York hotels.
Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said it would be a precarious balancing act to ensure the safety of the players and the public during the major event.
‘We are not going to do anything that is going to jeopardise the health of the community,’ he said.
‘It flips around in a sense. We have to protect the community from the players for the first fortnight, then we have to protect the players from the community after that.’
Mr Tiley said he had discussed preliminary plans with Roger Federer, and is in regular contact with governing bodies for the grand slam and both men’s and women’s tours.
By January, saliva testing would be at officials disposal to use within the hub.
The luxury resort housing family and friends of AFL players has been converted into an impenetrable fortress, complete with green mesh fences, security guards and warning signs to keep the public away
Pictured: A woman in her bathing suit working on her laptop from her balcony
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has already conceded that the Australian Open would look very different this summer.
‘Teams coming from overseas, players coming from overseas, coaches, officials — they’re all going to have to quarantine,’ he said.
‘It’s not going to be an ordinary summer from that point of view, but we’ll get as many people as we can, provided it’s safe.’
He has already warned that large events will be granted approval on a case-by-case basis depending on the COVID situation at the time, but acknowledged the Australian Open was a staple for Victorians’ summer.
The hotel is no longer taking bookings from the public due to being the designated AFL hub
He hopes stadiums will be able to reach 25-50 per cent capacity by the opening round.
Last year, the event drew crowds of 800,000 people.
Mr Andrews is hoping to lift most restrictions by November 23 if there have been no new cases for two weeks.
Daily infection rates have been generally trending downwards for weeks since August 5, when 725 new cases were diagnosed.
On Monday, officials reported just 35 new infections, and seven deaths.
The last of the restrictions will be lifted after 28 days with no new cases.
Queensland’s border madness: The heartbroken families
Mark Keans, from Brisbane, was diagnosed with inoperable brain and lung cancer in late July and the doctors believe he won’t make it past Christmas.
Health authorities had initially said only one of Mr Keans’ four Sydney-based children – all of whom are under the age of 13 – could cross the border to see him one last time.
Queensland Health did not at first respond to multiple requests for an exemption from the truck driver’s family, but later told them they can drive into the state and pay for two weeks quarantine in a Brisbane hotel.
A fundraising page to pay for their quarantine has raised more than $200,000, including a $1,000 donation from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Mr Keans pictured with his children (L-R) Noah 13, Caitlyn 11, Caleb 11, and Isaac, 7
Kimberley Brown and her husband Scott, from Ballina, in northern New South Wales, were told on August 12 that their unborn twins had developed twin to twin transfusion syndrome.
Mrs Brown needed urgent surgery but despite living just two hours away from Queensland’s Mater Hospital doctors told her she would need to apply for a border exemption, which took too long.
She was flown 750km to Sydney but lost one of her twins.
It came ten days after Premier Palaszczuk declared that Queensland hospitals are ‘for our people’.
Kimberley Brown and her husband Scott, from Ballina, in northern NSW, learned that they had lost their unborn baby after being forced to travel 750kms because of Queensland’s border restrictions
Jayne Brown, 60, spent two weeks confined to a tiny hotel room in Brisbane following her recent return from Sydney, where renowned neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo removed two large tumours on her brain.
The grandmother-of-seven requested an exemption from hotel quarantine to self-isolate at home on the Sunshine Coast, but was rejected twice.
She blasted Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who allowed 400 AFL players and officials from coronavirus-riddled Victoria to enter the state and quarantine in a luxury hotel.
Jayne Brown described the decision to allow 400 AFL officials into Queensland as mindblowing
Sarah Caisip, who lives in coronavirus-free Canberra, applied for an exemption last month to visit her sick father Bernard Prendergast in Brisbane – but it took 20 days to get approved and he died of liver cancer two days before her flight.
The young nurse was banned from attending her father’s funeral on Thursday because officials believed she is a Covid-19 risk even though the ACT has had no cases for 60 days.
Ms Caisip was only granted a private viewing of her father’s body, surrounded by guards and forbidden from seeing her shattered mother and 11-year-old sister.
Sarah Caisip was only granted a private viewing of her father’s body, surrounded by guards