Jennifer Brady, the last player in the Australian Open women’s draw who went through hard quarantine prior to the tournament, says she survived two weeks in isolation by remaining as positive as possible.
- Brady says she did not want to view her hard quarantine period as a hurdle during her Australian Open campaign
- Several players have spoken of the toll hard quarantine took on them both physically and emotionally
- Brady will play fellow American Jessica Pegula in the quarter-finals
Brady was one of 72 tennis players placed under a strict lockdown last month after being on a flight with a passenger who tested positive to COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne.
The 22nd seed continued her Australian Open campaign on Monday by beating Donna Vekić 6-1, 7-5 to progress to the quarter-finals.
Brady said she decided to remain positive during the quarantine period, despite several other players publicly criticising Australian Open organisers.
“A lot of people were complaining and I told myself I wasn’t going to complain,” Brady said at her post-match media conference on Monday.
As with all players who went through hard quarantine in Melbourne, Brady was not allowed to leave her hotel room for practice sessions on court.
Players had to train inside their hotel rooms during the 14-day period of isolation, although some were in quarantine for just over two weeks.
Brady, a US Open semi-finalist last year, said she was able to keep fit inside her hotel room.
“Tennis Australia provided us with a bike, the last few days [of hard quarantine] I had a treadmill, I had weights,” she said.
“I was able to train, to work out. It was a small hotel room but I was able to do everything that I needed to do to stay as fit as possible.
“If I started feeling bad for myself or started complaining it would have made the 14 days a lot harder than it was.
“There were a couple of us who were pretty positive and tried to each day just be like, ‘OK, there’s only five more days and we’re out’.”
Brady said she was always mindful Australians returning home had to go through hard quarantine for two weeks.
“We weren’t the only ones doing hard lockdown, every Australian who comes home has to do the hard lockdown,” she said.
“Of course we’re trying to prepare and be as fit as possible before playing a grand slam [tournament]. Things happen, things happen for a reason.”
Brady will next play fellow American Jessica Pegula, who upset Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina in three sets, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
‘Not how you prepare for a slam’
Anett Kontaveit, the number 21 seed in the women’s draw, also went through hard quarantine, before losing in the third round.
She said training in her hotel room while in quarantine was not ideal.
“There is no escaping the fact that we were in the room for two weeks before a slam,” Kontaveit said on Saturday.
“That’s not how you prepare for a slam. But I’m surprised how well I actually did and how [far] I came, but I did feel like with every match … I was getting more and more worn out.”
Former Australian Open winners Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber were among those to make first-round exits in the women’s draw after going through hard quarantine.
Kerber said she would have thought twice about coming to Melbourne if she knew there was a possibility of spending two weeks confined to a hotel room.
Paula Badosa, who tested positive to COVID-19 during the quarantine period and publicly criticised conditions while in isolation, also lost in the first round.