By Sudipto Ganguly
January 29 (Reuters) – Rohan Bopanna is eager to breathe Melbourne’s fresh air when his 14-day quarantine ends on Saturday, but finding a partner for the Australian Open men’s doubles will also top his list when he finally gets his freedom.
The 40-year-old Indian, former world number three doubles, is one of 72 players who were confined to their hotel rooms in Melbourne after other passengers on flights that brought them to Australia were tested positive for COVID-19.
“I had spent a good two and a half weeks training at home in Bangalore in my academy,” Bopanna, who won the 2017 Roland Garros mixed doubles title and reached the final at Melbourne Park, told Reuters. is three years old.
“I was really looking forward to coming and enjoying a good program.
“Suddenly, when you’re locked out for 14 days, there’s only what an athlete can do in this room. You lose strength in your muscles. Mentally it’s hard, you have to stay. positive no matter what.
“You are surrounded by four walls. The view from my room is absolutely zero, I have a wall right outside the window.”
Bopanna appreciates the reasons for the strict local COVID-19 regulations and is grateful for the daily contact from Tennis Australia and Victoria health authorities.
Unable to leave her bedroom to train every day like most other players, Bopanna relies on exercise bands and mats to try and stay in shape.
“Yes, it can get frustrating,” he said in an interview from his hotel room.
“In the end, none of the players went through that. It’s different. The closer you get to the finish line, it’s always better. I want to go train, play tennis, c I have so many kilometers to go on the way. “
Bopanna will also have to look for a new men’s doubles partner, however, after Joao Sousa was unable to make it to Australia in time after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Portuguese, world No. 92 in singles, returned a negative test afterwards and was symptom-free but strict protocols forced him to withdraw from the tournament.
Bopanna will play in mixed doubles with China’s Duan Yingying and will be looking for a new partner for the men ahead of the draws on February 4.
“I’m sure I’ll find someone. It’s not a problem but I need to see who is available at the moment,” said the Indian, who will play with Denmark’s Frederik Nielsen in men’s doubles at the time. from next week’s ATP event at Melbourne Park.
Bopanna kept herself busy during the seclusion by making videos to post to Instagram and completing modules for an online course on international entertainment and sports marketing.
The end of his quarantine cannot come soon enough, however.
“Just to walk outside and breathe the fresh air, I breathe the same air in the room for 14 days, I don’t think that’s healthy,” he said.
“To be able to walk freely outside, just go get a good workout, able to work a little. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”