“Caught The Sour Lemon”: Tennis Player Explains Benefits for Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Thiem in Adelaide Bubble

Published 01/17/2021, 12:30 AM EST
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 10: Rafael Nadal of Spain (L) and Novak Djokovic of Serbia hits a forehand react after watching a video replay while on the sidelines during the Tie Break Tens ahead of the 2018 Australian Open at Margaret Court Arena on January 10, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)


The buzz around the Australian Open 2021 has taken quite an undesirable turn. It all began with the organizers’ decision to separate Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Dominic Thiem from the rest of the herd.

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Particularly, the Top 3 players are quarantining for 14-days in an amenities-filled hotel in Adelaide. And the others are present in a much more stringent environment in Melbourne. As a result, the organizers of the year’s first Slam are receiving a lot of flak over the situation.

In a conversation, the Austrian doubles’ World No. 40 Phillip Oswald provided some inside news.

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To begin with, the 34-year-old said, “Conditions are much better in Adelaide.” Later on, Philipp opened up on how different the settings actually are.

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 27: Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Rafael Nadal of Spain cross paths during a change of ends during the Men’s Singles Final match during day 14 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2019, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

A month ago, the organizers had informed the players to bring one or two team members only to Australia. But, that is not the case for the Top 3 gentlemen.

“First, players were allowed to take a lot more staff with them,” Philipp revealed. “Medvedev and Zverev, for example, were only allowed to take two people with them, while Thiem, Nadal and Djokovic each came with ten people (exaggeration, note).”

The protocols of quarantine in Australia allow players to train outside their hotel rooms for 5 hours each day. However, Philipp explained how the Top 3 players got an extra bit of advantage.

“They also have a gym in their hotel,” he said. “So, they don’t have to do their fitness exercises during the five-hour period. You only have the five hours to play tennis.”

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How will the situation affect the Australian Open 2021?

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates at the trophy presentation ceremony after winning the men’s singles final match against Dominic Thiem of Austria on day fourteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

There is no denying that many players are not very happy with the current situation. But given the severity of containing the virus, they don’t have many options.

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Oswald concluded, “It’s not apples and apples here, but apples and pears – and I caught the sour lemon.”

The defending champion of the Australian Open and Serbian World No. 1 Djokovic also had expressed displeasure against two bubbles. Even so, he along with Nadal and Thiem are likely to be well-prepared for the ‘Happy Slam’.

Hopefully, the morale of other players will turn around as the tournament begins and the Happy Slam will commence as one of the brightest and exciting tournaments of the year as usual.

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Purav Joshi

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Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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