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Andy Murray angry at missing Australian Open & questions LTA protocols

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Andy Murray

Andy Murray has spoken of his anger at missing next week’s Australian Open because he caught Covid-19, pointing the finger at the culture inside the National Tennis Centre over Christmas.
Murray, 33, believes he contracted the virus while practising at the LTA’s high performance centre in London.

 

 

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The Scot says “tonnes of people were in the gym” and thinks too many were allowed to use the player facilities. The LTA said “stringent and appropriate restrictions” had been applied.

As a result of catching coronavirus, Murray was not allowed to travel to Melbourne on a chartered flight as planned and was then unable to find a “workable quarantine” to play at the Grand Slam after recovering. Instead the former world number one will play in Italy next week on the ATP Challenger Tour.

“When we went to the NTC in April, if there are six indoor courts, you could only practise on one, three and five. There wasn’t any testing at that time, but the gym was closed and it was restricted access,” said Murray.

“Whereas after Christmas you have an indoor venue where they are using all six courts, there were tonnes of people in the gym, and it was just totally different.

“Now it’s kind of back to what it was in April, which is good. It’s a completely different building. All the communal areas are severely restricted, like the lunch hall; there’s probably seven or eight seats maximum in there now, before there would have been 30 to 40.

“But the reality is that it happened too late because there were quite a number of cases between Christmas, New Year and the players going off to Australia.”

Others have privately expressed reservations about the numbers allowed into the player lounge, and the lack of social distancing and mask wearing by some.

British number one Dan Evans trained at the NTC before flying to the Australian Open and suggested attitudes there to the virus had “slackened”.

“If I was being a bit harsh, without being rude to some players in there, they probably shouldn’t have been in there. I don’t think they were really of much importance,” he said.

“The importance should have been on getting healthy people to the Australian Open.”

However, doubles player Jamie Murray – Andy Murray’s older brother – defended the protocols and said staff had done an “incredible job” to keep the NTC open.

“I don’t necessarily feel like it’s their fault or it’s them to blame. It was unfortunate what happened,” he said after winning the Great Ocean Road Open title on Sunday.

“They had some positive tests and it happened to be Andy, which is obviously a big shame with the amount of work that he’s put in to get to this point to prepare himself for Australia.”

In response to Andy Murray’s criticism, the LTA pointed out the impossibility of eradicating all risk with the virus so widespread and said it was impossible to “police every part of the building continuously”.

“We have worked closely with Public Health England in order to keep the centre open since April for both training and as a host venue for over 1000 competitive matches across 17 tournaments on site.

“Our protocols are regularly communicated to everyone using the venue and we expect them to be adhered to in the player lounge and all other areas of the building.”

The first sign of sickness Murray had was when he developed a slightly dry throat a few days before his flight to Melbourne.

What started as a joke among his team became more serious when he woke up at 3am the following morning with an aching body and sore head.

“Three hours later I had the message through on my phone that I had tested positive,” he recalled.

“For two days, I was pretty ill. I basically stayed in my room for five or six days, because I didn’t want my family to get it, if possible.

“But then five to six days later my wife tested positive, then a few days after that the kids tested positive, so the whole family got it in the end.”

With Murray and his family now fully recovered, he has travelled to the Italian city of Biella where he will play in the Challenger tournament. The top seed faces Germany’s Maximilian Marterer on Monday.

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Roddick: “Who is the GOAT between Federer, Nadal and Djokovic?…

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Rafael, Novak and Roger

The Big 3 were arguably the best players of their era alongside Andy Murray. Roger Federer has not won a Slam since January 2018, but still holds the record of 20 majors conquered, while Rafael Nadal took only one length away thanks to the victories at the Roland Garros and the US Open last year.

 

 

Before the suspension for the Coronavirus emergency, Novak Djokovic won his 17th Slam by recovering Dominic Thiem in the Australian Open final. For his 17th Grand Slam win he received 2.5 Million Euro as prize money. The World number 1 won the title at Dubai Tennis Championships fifth time, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

In a recent interview, former World number 1 Andy Roddick said it is too premature to decide the ongoing ‘Greatest of all time’ debate. “There seems to be this need to discuss the greatest of all time on the men’s side and frankly at this point, I think it’s kind of dumb,” he said on Tennis Channel.

“It’s like handing out Oscars before you watch the ending of a movie. It just doesn’t make much sense and if you say one person, the other two people feel disrespected. It is just too early and before it all plays out someone will say: ‘who do you think will finish with the all-time lead?’ And I’m either guessing or obviously I’m like a medical professional and can predict injuries from here on out.

I just think we’re lucky to still have Novak, Roger and Rafa still in the game. Hopefully, Murray gets back into it. It is premature and I know everyone likes to go to this conversation non-stop but I just think it is too early. And there is too much wasted breath on it at this point.”

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Naomi Osaka: ‘I do not say hi to Serena Williams’

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naomi osaka

In an interview to CBS, Naomi Osaka commented on her relationship with Serena Williams sharing an interesting insight. The Japanese player, who defeated the American in last year’s controversial US Open final, said: “I have this huge respect for her.

 

 

It’s someone that I’ve, you know, looked up to my entire life. So I still feel a bit shocked whenever she reaches out. And, I don’t know. I don’t say hi to her or anything because … I get so nervous. She always seems like she’s doing something important, so I don’t want to interrupt.

And then — I really want to talk to her about life and stuff and, like, how she manages to do things on and off the court. But … I don’t wanna be disrespectful to her and, like, try to talk to her like she’s my mentor while she’s still playing.

So I’m kinda just chillin’ on that.” Osaka does not want to be compared to the 37-year-old legend: “I would have to win 20-something more Grand Slams to be her peer. She has so many lists of accomplishments.

So no way. II’ve just been very grateful that I’m even playing. I’ve been trying to, like, take every day as a new experience and learn from everything.”

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Roger Federer reveals awkward moment with wife Mirka at spa

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What is the most unusual situation and most obscure place out of nowhere where someone has come up to Roger Federer and recognized him when he was on holiday or hiking? The Swiss recalled a funny anecdote. ‘I remember this one time when I went on a vacation on the Maldives.

 

 

That was in the year 2001, I think. I went to this spa. I went to walk around with Mirka’, Federer said. ‘I walk in, and we want to book a spa. This guy goes, “AHH, I remember you. You beat Sampras. I saw you on TV.” That was like, really, how can you remember me? This guy has probably never been off his island and still knows me.

I was a little bit shocked. Then I went to play tennis with him because he was actually the tennis teacher. It was nice.’ Were they naked at the time in the spa? ‘No. It was at the front desk. I didn’t walk in naked.’ Federer also recalled how it felt to spend time in Switzerland when he started having success in tennis and becoming more popular: ‘I had to almost mentally prepare now when I walk out of the house in Basel.

But I’m used to it. I think the people in Basel, in general in Switzerland, they’re okay. They respect my private life. Some of them come up to me like they’re my best friends. Some of them just come up with a lot of respect.

It depends. It’s actually funny to see all the different reactions.

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