Australian Open 2021: 'I wouldn't repeat it', Paula Badosa rues Australia trip after COVID-19, quarantine and defeat
Badosa, who attracted criticism after she complained about her mandatory quarantine and then became the only player to test positive, said the past month had been 'very, very tough'.
Spain's Paula Badosa said she wouldn't want to repeat her Australian Open experience as she crashed out in the first round Tuesday after catching the coronavirus and spending 21 days in quarantine.
Badosa, who attracted criticism after she complained about her mandatory quarantine and then became the only player to test positive, said the past month had been "very, very tough".
Badosa was among eight positive cases detected on the charter flights that brought more than 1,000 players and officials into Australia for the opening Grand Slam of the year.
While most players were allowed out to train for five-hour blocks, 72 were confined to their rooms 24 hours a day for a fortnight and Badosa then had to endure another seven days' lockdown after testing positive.
"I'm sad for the match, but I'm even more sad because I lost the level that I've been working so hard these two months in pre-season," she said, when asked if she would quarantine for another Grand Slam.
"So, no, I wouldn't repeat it."
But the 23-year-old, who lost 6-7, 7-6, 7-5 to Russia's Liudmila Samsonova, insisted that her complaints about quarantine had been misunderstood.
"Of course I understand the rules. I think you're doing it very, very well in this country. That's why you don't have cases," she said.
"But my complaint was never that.
"It was a little bit the conditions because if you're going to play a Grand Slam, today you have the example. I played, I don't know, maybe three hours... and I needed fresh air or maybe a bigger room or better conditions to play against the best players.
That was my complaint."
The world number 67 had complained that her room was too small and she did not have access to exercise equipment, although this was later remedied.
Several other players were also unhappy with the conditions but drew an unsympathetic reaction from the Australian public, many of whom defended the strict isolation measures as necessary in the largely virus-free country.
"Emotionally I have to be honest, it was tough reading all that kind of things. I didn't mean (it). I think people didn't understand me, what I wanted to explain," Badosa said.
"It's been very, very tough."
Badosa added that she had no idea how she contracted COVID-19 , having been in a WTA bubble in Abu Dhabi before heading to Australia on the charter flights arranged by Tennis Australia.
Subscribe to Moneycontrol Pro at ₹499 for the first year. Use code PRO499. Limited period offer. *T&C apply
Australian Open 2021: Ivan Dodig, Filip Polasek bag men's doubles title by upsetting Joe Salisbury, Rajeev Ram
Their win deprived Salisbury and Ram from becoming the first pair to successfully defend their crown at Melbourne Park since Bob and Mike Bryan won three in a row from 2009-11.
Australian Open 2021 Highlights: Novak Djokovic claims ninth title in Melbourne with straight sets win over Daniil Medvedev
Australian Open 2021 men's final: Novak Djokovic heads into Sunday's Australian Open final unbeaten on eight previous occasions in the title match, but knowing he will need to be at his mental and physical best to overcome red-hot Russian Daniil Medvedev
Australian Open 2021 Women's final: Japan's Naomi Osaka maintained her perfect record in Grand Slam deciders by beating Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 to win her fourth major title.