(CNN) – Thousands of fans gathered in the stands on Friday to watch some of the tennis biggest stars prepare for the Australian Open, with no face masks in sight.In an unusual scene from the coronavirus pandemic, 4,000 spectators sat together while senior players such as Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka were quarantined for 14 days to play exhibition matches ahead of this year’s first Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne. Which starts on February 8th.
World number one Novak Djokovic initially withdrew from the exhibition event due to a blister in his hand, but appeared on the field to play a group to help fellow countryman Philippe Krajinovic beat Yanik Sener.
Speaking after the match, Djokovic paid tribute to the fans who attended: “These days, our year have been lit up.”
On the other hand, Serena Williams beat Naomi Osaka 6-2 2-6 (10-7) in a “Super Break” in the second match, as the two players united in their enthusiasm to play with the crowd.
“We haven’t played in front of an audience in over a year, so it’s been a long time,” said Williams.
It occurs when players begin exiting a hotel quarantine after completing their 14-day isolation, roughly a week before the event begins.
Australia has already passed 12 days without local infection in any of its states or territories, Health Minister Greg Hunt said at a press conference on Friday.
“This is testimony (not only) to the work of our medical professionals, and our public health teams, but Australians are everywhere in the way they noticed the requirements of spacing, the way they protect each other. Others, the way“ I ”came to take the test, Hunt told reporters.
Australia’s tough approach to the coronavirus was controversial ahead of the Open, with some players from abroad arriving frustrated to find themselves in quarantine, while others found a way to deal with the lockdown.
Some have resorted to social media to complain, while others have issued lists of demands to the Australian authorities. But in an interview with CNN since the quarantine earlier this week, Nadal said his co-stars should take a “bigger picture”.
He said: “I am very sorry for all of them, but when we got here, we knew that the measures would be strict because we knew that the country was doing well with the epidemic.” Nadal Christian Amanpour On CNN on Tuesday.
To date, Australia has reported 28,800 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 909 deaths.
The Australian Open will begin on February 8 in Melbourne and will last for two weeks. Friday’s exhibition matches were the official backdrop for the international tennis competition, and saw Williams and Novak Djokovic win close matches.