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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday January 21, 2020

Argentina’s Guido Pella could be considered the unluckiest man in tennis. Last summer he found out the hard way that he would not be permitted to practice prior to the US Open after being deemed a close contact to his physiotherapist, who tested positive for Covid-19.

Tennis Express

A refresher: Pella was forced to endure after Juan Galván tested positive for Covid-19 days before the Western and Southern Open. The USTA, scrambling to protect its bubble and the health of the players inside it, decided to place Pella and Hugo Dellien in quarantine, as they had been in close contact with Galván.

What followed was excruciating for Pella and Dellien as the pair were withdrawn from the Western and Southern Open and forced to prepare for the US Open in incredibly difficult circumstances.

In Melbourne it has happened again as Pella was on one of the three planes with a Covid-19 positive test and as a result has been placed in another hard quarantine.

Speaking on the 3igales podcast the 30-year-old World No.44 aired out some of his grievances, but it wasn’t the quarantine that had him fired up, it is the fact that several elite players are currently down in Adelaide and enjoying a much “looser” brand of quarantine, where six elite players and their training partners are preparing for a 29 January exhibition called “A day at the drive”.

Pella says he was miffed by the silence coming from Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem’s camps about the situation.

"I am very surprised with Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem's silence,” Pella said. “They are in Adelaide, and us in Melbourne, regarding what is happening here, I wouldn’t put my life on the line for anyone, but Djokovic, at least, shows intentions. Later, I don't know what happens. It's not that it hurt me, because nobody has to say anything, but how much Thiem and Nadal didn't say anything about Adelaide's quarantine, I didn't like it. But hey, there are clearly people who think differently and, but that's the way it is.”

"Here the one who sets up the tournament was very clear. They are interested in three players. Those who are doing the special quarantine in Adelaide.”

Thiem did speak about the situation in an interview, and says he felt there wasn’t much of a difference in quarantines.

“It’s a privilege to be here in Adelaide. But it’s not that huge of an advantage,” Thiem said on Thursday. “We get the same amount of practice time as the guys in Melbourne. It’s just not that busy on-site. It’s just that we are [fewer] players here. Compared to the players who are not in hard quarantine in Melbourne, we have pretty similar conditions.

“The only really bad and unlucky thing are the 72 players in the hard quarantine. For them, it’s going to be really tough to play a good ATP Cup or good tournament before the Australian Open and then a good Australian Open. They have a huge disadvantage, but that’s the risk we take when we go on to a plane nowadays.”

Pella is not the only player upset about the disparity between the quarantines in Adelaide and Melbourne. ATP player Taro Daniel told the No Challenges Remaining Podcast that many players are frustrated with it.

"It's pretty difficult to accept because ... I mean the difference is always there but this time it's in the spotlight, and it still doesn't seem to be getting [that much negative attention], the different treatment that they are getting versus what we are getting here," said Daniel.

Australian Open CEO Craig Tiley says it’s simply part of the business. The plan for Adelaide surely means increased revenues for a cash-strapped federation in 2021. That’s a tough deal to refuse.

"I get the feeling it is perceived as preferential treatment," Tiley said. "But they're the top players in the world. My general rule is if you're at the top of the game, a Grand Slam champion, it's just the nature of the business. You are going to get a better deal."

Pella, for his part, says he is handling his second “hard” quarantine much better than the first.

"I am handling this quarantine much better than the one I did in the United States. Beyond the anger of the first day, I learned from that experience,” he said. "I knew all the protocol on the subject of the plane. Some misinterpreted it. We come here to accept the rules of the game. We know that Australia is one of the countries in the world that is best managing the pandemic. So what we least want is to put at risk a country that is doing things well."


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