All participants and their escorts in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year were transferred to Australia by charter flights. This was followed by a mandatory two-week quarantine in a hotel room. But there were two types: a ‘soft’ and a ‘hard’ insulation.
Players were normally allowed to train outside for five hours, but anyone on a flight where anyone tested positive for the coronavirus on arrival had to follow strict rules and be given two weeks. He was not allowed to leave the hotel room. As a result, the preparations of 72 tennis players were severely disrupted.
Jennifer Brady was one of them, as were the seed heads of eleven other women. But not all of them made it past the fourth round in Melbourne. Two former winners Victoria Azarenka and Angelique Kerber were also eliminated in the first round. Six others, like Annette Kontaveit, lost in straight sets in the third round of the Australian Open.
Many times there were complaints about not being prepared. Tennys Sandgren probably put it best when she lost in the first round. “I’ve never started a Grand Slam knowing I probably won’t win,” said the American. “I was physically unable to compete with my opponent. I am not saying that the whole tournament is a joke, but it is not possible.”
“You can’t miss the fact that we spent two weeks in one room,” explained Kontaveit, seeded 26 in the women’s league. “It’s not how you prepare yourself for a Grand Slam.”
blessing in disguise
But Brady did not want to hear such excuses. The 25-year-old American made his Australian Open debut after being imprisoned for two weeks as a racket.
Round 1: 6-1, 6-3 against Alyona Bolsova
Round 2: 6-1, 6-2 against Madison Brengle
Round 3: 6-1, 6-3 against Kaza Juwan
Fourth round: 6-1, 7-5 (28) against Donna Vekic
Brady told The New York Times, “At first I thought it was a bit of a shame, but then I immediately thought, Well, I feel good.” “There are things worse in the world than sitting in a hotel room for fourteen days. It’s not ideal preparation for a Grand Slam tournament, but you still had eight days before your first game. You can look at it this way.” “
The American slept “more than usual” during their two-week isolation. Often she could not even get up before 11 in the morning. She trained in her room twice a day: in the afternoon and around 5:00 pm. That was work with tennis balls, cycling on rollers or lifting weights. But according to his coach Michael Gesserer, there was another important exercise.
“We couldn’t simulate actual matches or training sessions, so we tried our best to adapt to the situation,” Gesser said. “The most important thing was the mindset. We weren’t going to complain. We were just going to go through it. Well, Jennifer had bad days too, but she tried to make the best of them. It’s very important during matches. Knowing that even if you don’t play your best tennis, you can still find a way to win.
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And with success as Brady became the only seeded player to make it to the second week in Melbourne after a tough quarantine. “When I was finally allowed out again, I felt much more mentally refreshed,” said the American. “It’s been a long year for me with no real breaks. So actually going into isolation for a fortnight I was a little lucky. I was able to reset my head and recover physically.”
And she didn’t really miss the fans either. “If there are people who are calling you constantly, that adds a bit of pressure. Without spectators, it’s just you and your opponent,” said Brady, who inspired his style from his idols Lleyton Hewitt and Justin Henin, and according to tennis legend Chris Evert “as long as a man”. Played tennis. But now Naomi Osaka is also open about Brady. “I really envy her mix of successes. I wish I could do that too,” said the Japanese.