|Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 8-21 February|
|Protection: Pay attention on BBC Radio 5 Stay Sports activities Additional and on-line; Stay textual content on chosen matches on the BBC Sport web site and app.|
Nice Britain’s seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jamie Murray is in Melbourne for the Australian Open. Within the first of his common columns for BBC Sport, the Scot talks about arriving in a rustic the place coronavirus has been contained, issues over the event and his obsession with Soccer Supervisor.
The entire gamers are grateful for the prospect to be right here for the Australian Open with the chance to compete at one other Grand Slam.
These three weeks will in all probability be the perfect weeks we now have on the tour for some time, so we’re all able to get caught in.
As soon as we had accomplished our 14-day quarantine interval it was bizarre getting out and going into this Covid-free world in Melbourne.
It simply exhibits how your behaviours change relying in your set of circumstances.
For the previous yr in Britain, we now have needed to put on masks on a regular basis and never socialise with anybody aside from our family.
On the streets again residence, everybody has their head down and also you body-swerve and scuttle previous folks.
Right here, you are able to do just about what you need.
You continue to need to put on masks indoors in a public place. For those who go to a restaurant it’s a must to check in on the door and in a number of the eating places you order on-line and so they carry you the meals.
Consuming in eating places will get taken with no consideration, particularly if you’re travelling to play tournaments, however I have not been ready to try this for ages.
When the ATP Tour resumed in August final yr we weren’t allowed out anyplace at occasions. It was simply your self and your workforce on the courts or within the lodge.
So to have the ability to exit and really feel there may be an environment once more is very nice.
You are in a position to combine with who you need right here in Melbourne and you do not have to remain in your bubble. So I have been out with my buddies that reside right here and the British guys are all planning to exit for a dinner earlier than the Australian Open begins.
Seeing different folks is a superb feeling. Hopefully the restrictions again residence will be capable of be eased sooner somewhat than later so you’ll be able to get pleasure from extra freedom once more too.
Having stated that, I believe the excitement of a Melbourne summer season remains to be lacking.
The town at all times has a enjoyable vibe across the Australian Open which – in regular circumstances – takes place in the summertime holidays right here.
Melbourne Park is positioned proper within the metropolis centre, only a brief stroll alongside the Yarra River from Flinders Avenue station – the principle prepare station – and Fed Sq., which often has a giant fan park.
This yr, all the things undoubtedly feels quieter. It looks like those that often work within the metropolis are nonetheless working at residence, however I’ve not been out to the seashore so I am unsure how busy that’s.
Both means, there may be nonetheless much more exercise right here than there may be at residence in Britain.
As soon as these tournaments in Melbourne have completed we now have received to return to Europe and issues shall be very completely different once more – both a lockdown or a event bubble.
So I need to go into the town a little bit bit extra and to maximise the chance of getting some freedom and relative normality.
‘Everybody has been on edge after lodge scare’
There was additional disruption to the event this week with 160 gamers being advised to isolate once more till that they had taken one other coronavirus check and returned a unfavorable outcome.
That information got here on Wednesday evening after a employee at one of many accommodations the place a number of the gamers did their quarantine examined optimistic.
I wasn’t in that lodge – the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne’s Central Enterprise District. I used to be staying in one other lodge near Albert Park, which is simply outdoors the town centre and the place the Components 1 race is often held.
Everybody who stayed within the Hyatt was a little bit bit on edge after that information. They needed to stand up on Thursday, take a check and wait for his or her outcome.
Folks have been anxious about what impact it could have on the Australian Open and whether or not they must go into quarantine once more.
We all know the federal government right here might probably shut down the event at any second if issues get uncontrolled.
Fortunately all of the checks got here again unfavorable and hopefully we will get on with issues as deliberate.
What it’s like travelling the world over in a pandemic
My preparations for the Australian Open began by leaving London in early January and coaching in Dubai for 5 days, earlier than catching the chartered flight from there to Melbourne.
There was about 50 or 60 folks on the flight, together with gamers, coaches and workers from the Affiliation of Tennis Professionals, Ladies’s Tennis Affiliation and the Worldwide Tennis Federation. So it was fairly empty and there was a great deal of area.
Once we arrived in Melbourne, there was a non-public terminal and we went by the arrival protocols in a single large hanger.
Everybody there was carrying private protecting tools – gloves, face masks, face shields, glasses. They have been taking no dangers.
Then we have been transferred on to the buses to our accommodations and the checking-in course of was an odd state of affairs.
Just one particular person might enter the lodge at a time, you gave your title at reception and you then have been escorted to the carry. Somebody opened the carry for you, you were not allowed to the touch the button, they radioed to a colleague to say you have been going as much as your ground, then a safety guard on the ground met you and took you to the room.
We have been within the room for 2 and a half days earlier than we have been allowed out. After that, we have been allowed out for 5 hours every day.
We had an app on our telephones the place each evening we’d get our schedule for the following day.
Some mornings we practised from 7am to 9am so we might get picked up outdoors the room door at 6.45am and escorted to the court docket for a two-hour session.
After that, somebody would escort us to a health club pod after which again to the lodge for one hour of diet – once more in your personal pod. Then it was again to the room till you have been allowed out the next day.
I used to be loads luckier than most gamers. My flight did not have any points, so I did not need to do a ‘arduous’ quarantine and I had a very good view out throughout the town.
However I nonetheless had loads of time to move significantly in these two and a half days the place I could not depart the room. So I received again into taking part in Soccer Supervisor.
I hadn’t performed it for years. However with the element the sport goes into now you’ll be able to kill a lot time taking part in it.
You get so absorbed in it. I’ve even been watching YouTube movies about which gamers to signal and highlighting completely different techniques.
I have been managing AFC Wimbledon – I picked them as a result of they’re my native workforce – and I received them promoted to the Championship.
The truth is, AFC Wimbledon are trying to find a brand new supervisor in actual life. By some means I do not suppose this qualifies me to throw my hat into the ring… I am going to follow tennis!
Jamie Murray was speaking to BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko