Nadal refers to the situation of the pandemic in Australia 3:04
Thousands of fans packed the stands Friday to watch some of tennis's biggest stars prepare for the Australian Open, with almost no masks in sight. In an unusual scene from the coronavirus pandemic, the 4,000 Spectators sat together as great players such as Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka emerged from their 14-day quarantine to play exhibition matches ahead of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year in Melbourne, which begins on February 8.
World number one Novak Djokovic initially withdrew from the exhibition event due to a blister on his hand, but appeared on the court to play a set to help compatriot Filip Krajinovic beat Jannik Sinner.
Speaking after the game, Djokovic praised the fans who attended: "You have brightened our day, our year."
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On the other hand, Serena Williams beat Naomi Osaka 6-2 2-6 (10-7) in a 'super breaker' in the second game with both players united in their excitement to play with the public.
"We haven't played in front of a crowd in over a year, so it's been a long time," Williams said.
Occurs when players have begun exiting the hotel quarantine after completing their 14-day isolation, roughly a week before the event begins.
General view of the match between Serena Williams of the USA and Naomi Osaka of Japan during an exhibition tournament on Memorial Drive on January 29 in Adelaide, Australia.
(Photo Mark Brake / Getty Images)
Australia has already had 12 days without a local infection in any of its states or territories, Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a news conference on Friday.
“That is a testament (not only) to the work of our medical professionals, our public health teams, but Australians everywhere in the way they have observed the distancing requirements, the way they have protected each other. others, the way 'I've come to get tested,' Hunt told reporters.
Australia's tough approach to the coronavirus has been controversial ahead of the Open, with some players arriving from overseas frustrated at finding themselves in quarantine, others finding a way to cope with lockdown.
Schwartzman and Cuevas' activities in quarantine 1:07
Serena Williams of the USA rubs shoulders with Naomi Osaka of Japan after their match during an exhibition tournament on Memorial Drive on January 29, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia.
(Photo Brenton Edwards / AFP Getty Images)
Some took to social media to complain, while others issued lists of demands to the Australian authorities.
But speaking to CNN since the quarantine earlier this week, Nadal said his fellow stars should take a "bigger picture."
"I am very sorry for all of them, but when we got here, we knew that the measures were going to be strict because we knew that the country is doing very well with the pandemic," Nadal told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.
To date, Australia has reported 28,800 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 909 deaths.
The Australian Open will begin on February 8 in Melbourne and will last two weeks.
Friday's exhibition matches were the official backdrop for the international tennis competition, and saw Williams and Novak Djokovic win close matches.
Australian OpenNovak DjokovicRafael NadalSerena WilliamsTennis