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‘Coming into a Covid-free world was bizarre’


Jamie Murray BBC Sport Columnist graphic

Venue: Melbourne park Dates: 8-21 February
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Good Britain’s seven-time Grand Slam doubles champion Jamie Murray is in Melbourne for the Australian Open. Inside the first of his widespread columns for BBC Sport, the Scot talks about arriving in a rustic the place coronavirus has been implied, points over the occasion and his obsession with Soccer Supervisor.

All of the avid gamers are grateful for the likelihood to be proper right here for the Australian Open with the prospect to compete at one different Grand Slam.

These three weeks will most definitely be the right weeks we’ve on the tour for a while, so we’re all in a position to get caught in.

As quickly as we had achieved our 14-day quarantine interval it was weird getting out and going into this Covid-free world in Melbourne.

It merely reveals how your behaviors change relying in your set of circumstances.

For the earlier yr in Britain, we’ve wanted to placed on masks on a common foundation and by no means socialize with anyone except for our household.

On the streets once more residence, everyone has their head down and in addition you body-swerve and scuttle earlier people.

Proper right here, you’ll be able to do nearly what you want.

People walking along the Yarra River in Melbourne
Australia has imposed among the many world’s hardest restrictions over the earlier yr in a bid to suppress coronavirus. The state of Victoria – of which Melbourne is the capital – has reported 20,452 circumstances and 820 deaths.

You proceed to should placed on masks indoors in a public place. For many who go to a restaurant it’s vital to sign throughout the door and in among the many consuming locations you order on-line they normally carry you the meals.

Consuming in consuming locations will get taken with no consideration, significantly everytime you’re travelling to play tournaments, nevertheless I’ve been in a place to do that for ages.

When the ATP Tour resumed in August ultimate yr we had been allowed out wherever at events. It was merely your self and your workforce on the courts or throughout the resort.

So to have the power to exit and actually really feel there could also be an surroundings as soon as extra may be very good.

You’re able to mix with who you want proper right here in Melbourne and also you shouldn’t have to stay in your bubble. So I’ve been out with my mates that dwell proper right here and the British guys are all planning to exit for a dinner sooner than the Australian Open begins.

Seeing completely different people is a very good feeling. Hopefully the restrictions once more residence will probably be succesful to be eased sooner reasonably than later so that you’ll have the ability to get pleasure from further freedom as soon as extra too.

Having talked about that, I imagine the fun of a Melbourne summer season stays to be missing.

City on a regular basis has a pleasing vibe throughout the Australian Open which – in common circumstances – takes place within the summertime holidays proper right here.

Melbourne Park is located correct throughout the metropolis coronary heart, solely a fast stroll alongside the Yarra River from Flinders Avenue station – the precept put together station – and Fed Sq., which usually has a big fan park.

This yr, each half positively feels quieter. It appears to be like like those who usually work throughout the metropolis are nonetheless working at residence, nevertheless I’ve not been out to the seashore so I’m undecided how busy that’s.

Each method, there could also be nonetheless rather more train proper right here than there could also be at residence in Britain.

As quickly as these tournaments in Melbourne have accomplished we’ve acquired to return to Europe and points will possible be very completely completely different as soon as extra – each a lockdown or a occasion bubble.

So I have to go into the city barely bit further and to maximise the prospect of getting some freedom and relative normality.

People walk around the shops and cafes in Melbourne's Central Business District
Melbourne’s streets are busy, nevertheless not as bustling as they usually could possibly be in the middle of the Australian Open

‘All people has been on edge after resort scare’

There was further disruption to the occasion this week with 160 avid gamers being knowledgeable to isolate as soon as extra until that that they had taken one different coronavirus test and returned a hostile consequence.

That info acquired right here on Wednesday night after a worker at certainly one of many lodges the place among the many avid gamers did their quarantine examined optimistic.

I was not in that resort – the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne’s Central Enterprise District. I was staying in a single different resort close to Albert Park, which is just open air the city coronary heart and the place the Elements 1 race is generally held.

All people who stayed throughout the Hyatt was barely bit on edge after that info. They wanted to stand up on Thursday, take a test and anticipate his or her consequence.

People had been apprehensive about what affect it might need on the Australian Open and whether or not or not they have to go into quarantine as soon as extra.

Everyone knows the federal authorities proper right here may doubtlessly shut down the occasion at any second if points get uncontrolled.

Fortuitously the entire assessments acquired right here once more hostile and hopefully we’ll get on with points as deliberate.

Players queue for a coronavirus test at a hotel in Melbourne
People associated to the Australian Open queued for coronavirus assessments at a Melbourne resort on Thursday

What it’s like touring the world over in a pandemic

My preparations for the Australian Open started by leaving London in early January and training in Dubai for five days, sooner than catching the chartered flight from there to Melbourne.

There was about 50 or 60 people on the flight, along with avid gamers, coaches and employees from the Affiliation of Tennis Professionals, Women’s Tennis Affiliation and the Worldwide Tennis Federation. So it was pretty empty and there was a nice deal of home.

As soon as we arrived in Melbourne, there was a private terminal and we glided by the arrival protocols in a single giant hanger.

All people there was carrying personal defending gear – gloves, face masks, face shields, glasses. That they had been taking no risks.

Then we had been transferred on to the buses to our lodges and the checking-in course of was an odd state of affairs.

Only one specific particular person may enter the resort at a time, you gave your title at reception and also you then had been escorted to the carry. Anyone opened the carry for you, you weren’t allowed to the contact the button, they radioed to a colleague to say you had been going as a lot as your floor, then a security guard on the bottom met you and took you to the room.

We had been throughout the room for two and a half days sooner than we had been allowed out. After that, we had been allowed out for five hours every single day.

We had an app on our telephones the place every night we’d get our schedule for the next day.

Some mornings we practiced from 7am to 9am so we might get picked up open air the room door at 6.45am and escorted to the courtroom for a two-hour session.

After that, anyone would escort us to a health heart pod after which once more to the resort for one hour of weight-reduction plan – as soon as extra in your particular person pod. Then it was once more to the room until you had been allowed out the following day.

I was a lot luckier than most avid gamers. My flight didn’t have any factors, so I didn’t should do a ‘laborious’ quarantine and I had a nice view out all through the city.

Nonetheless I nonetheless had a great deal of time to go considerably in these two and a half days the place I couldn’t depart the room. So I acquired once more into collaborating in Soccer Supervisor.

I hadn’t carried out it for years. Nonetheless with the factor the game goes into now you’ll have the ability to kill a lot time collaborating in it.

You get so absorbed in it. I’ve even been watching YouTube motion pictures about which avid gamers to sign and highlighting completely alternative ways.

I’ve been managing AFC Wimbledon – I picked them as a results of they’re my native workforce – and I acquired them promoted to the Championship.

Really, AFC Wimbledon are in search of a model new supervisor in precise life. Come what may I don’t suppose this qualifies me to throw my hat into the ring … I’ll observe tennis!

AFC Wimbledon
Murray describes himself as a “proactive and adaptable” soccer supervisor, with Dons pair Joe Pigott and Will Nightingale amongst his star avid gamers

Jamie Murray was chatting with BBC Sport’s Jonathan Jurejko

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