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Australian Open tennis stars find ways to play tennis in their hotel rooms

Some of the world’s biggest tennis stars are finding ways to stay match fit ahead of the Australian Open – in spite of many of them being quarantined in their hotel rooms following a Covid outbreak ahead of the grand slam.

While a handful of tennis pros including Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal are enjoying less strict restrictions, the majority of players hoping to compete in the tournament have been confined to four walls – with many of them holed up at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.

Those players in strict isolation – 72 at the last count – have been sharing their inventive approach to keeping fit without access to the usual gyms and training courts including smashing balls at mattresses and curtains and creating tiny running tracks in their rooms.   

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US star Coco Gauff strikes balls against curtains and pillows while trying to practise for the Australian Open; 72 players have been put into strict quarantine ahead of the tournament in Melbourne

US star Coco Gauff strikes balls against curtains and pillows while trying to practise for the Australian Open; 72 players have been put into strict quarantine ahead of the tournament in Melbourne

US star Coco Gauff strikes balls against curtains and pillows while trying to practise for the Australian Open; 72 players have been put into strict quarantine ahead of the tournament in Melbourne

Former British number one Heather Watson managed a 5K run...by striding repeatedly from one end of her hotel room to the other

Former British number one Heather Watson managed a 5K run...by striding repeatedly from one end of her hotel room to the other

Former British number one Heather Watson managed a 5K run…by striding repeatedly from one end of her hotel room to the other 

Table for one, sir? Stan Wawrinka takes breakfast alone in his hotel suite after a Covid outbreak in Melbourne forced many players competing in the Australian Open into isolation

Table for one, sir? Stan Wawrinka takes breakfast alone in his hotel suite after a Covid outbreak in Melbourne forced many players competing in the Australian Open into isolation

Table for one, sir? Stan Wawrinka takes breakfast alone in his hotel suite after a Covid outbreak in Melbourne forced many players competing in the Australian Open into isolation 

Uruguayan player Pablo Cuevas is seen thwacking backhands against an upturned mattress in a bid to be ready for the grand slam - while stuck in his bedroom

Uruguayan player Pablo Cuevas is seen thwacking backhands against an upturned mattress in a bid to be ready for the grand slam - while stuck in his bedroom

Uruguayan player Pablo Cuevas is seen thwacking backhands against an upturned mattress in a bid to be ready for the grand slam – while stuck in his bedroom

While British tennis star Heather Watson managed to run 5K back and forth in her room, US tennis star Coco Gauff pounded the curtains with tennis balls, and Anastasia Potapova practised her volleys against the windows at close range.

In a video shared on Twitter, Uruguayan player Pablo Cuevas is seen thwacking backhands against an upturned mattress in a bid to be ready for the grand slam later this week.  

Meanwhile, Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic shared a video of her hitting the window of her high-rise room, with Melbourne’s skyscrapers clearly visible in the background.    

For some including reigning Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic, 33, the isolation allowed is a little more relaxed. 

The biggest names in the game were allowed to fly into Adelaide and enjoy better facilities such as hotel rooms with balconies, unlike the majority who are quarantining in Melbourne.

Russian rising star of the court Yulia Putinseva used a wardrobe at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne where many of the sports' stars are holed up to fire shots

Russian rising star of the court Yulia Putinseva used a wardrobe at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne where many of the sports' stars are holed up to fire shots

Russian rising star of the court Yulia Putinseva used a wardrobe at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne where many of the sports’ stars are holed up to fire shots

The pillow becomes the target for Tunisian player Ons Jabeur as her coach gives her balls to hit

The pillow becomes the target for Tunisian player Ons Jabeur as her coach gives her balls to hit

The pillow becomes the target for Tunisian player Ons Jabeur as her coach gives her balls to hit

Marcelo Arévalo González (pictured) practised volleys using his mattress while in lockdown

Marcelo Arévalo González (pictured) practised volleys using his mattress while in lockdown

Marcelo Arévalo González (pictured) practised volleys using his mattress while in lockdown

Belinda Bencic finds a way to train while in mandatory hotel quarantine ahead of the tournament

Belinda Bencic finds a way to train while in mandatory hotel quarantine ahead of the tournament

Belinda Bencic finds a way to train while in mandatory hotel quarantine ahead of the tournament

This week, Djokovic wrote a letter to Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley, calling on him to arrange practice time for the 72 players who have been confined to hotel rooms after cases were detected on their chartered flights.

Under Australia’s strict coronavirus border measures, that means they are deemed a ‘close contact’ of an infected person and must quarantine for two weeks.

The others can train for up to five hours a day under strictly controlled conditions. A series of warm-up events will be held after the quarantine period, before the Australian Open starts on February 8.

Djokovic also suggested players could be quarantined in private houses in Melbourne with tennis courts and gym facilities. Those players not confined to their rooms can currently train for up to five hours a day under strictly controlled conditions.

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