Former World No. 1 Angelique Kerber was unceremoniously bounced from the first round of the Australian Open by unseeded American Bernarda Pera 6-0, 6-4 on Monday.
As Jake Michaels noted for ESPN, Kerber was one of the 72 international players who had to observe a 14-day hard quarantine in Melbourne before the tournament after they were potentially exposed to coronavirus-infected individuals on charter flights. Following her unexpected loss, the 2016 Australian Open winner wondered if she should’ve just sat things out.
“If I knew the real situation before my trip, I would maybe think twice to come here,” Kerber told reporters. “I was not planning the two weeks’ hard quarantine.
“I don’t know, maybe if I knew that before, to stay two weeks’ in the hard quarantine without hitting a ball, maybe I would think twice [about coming].
“I was not feeling the rhythm that I was before the two weeks, to be honest. I was really trying to stay positive, but you feel it, especially if you play the first match in a Grand Slam against an opponent who doesn’t stay in the hard lockdown.
“But I was trying to take the motivation for this tournament because it’s one of my favorite tournaments. I knew that we play with a little bit of fans, which makes tennis playing much more fun. So that was my motivation.”
Kerber is one of several players who have spoken out about the pre-tournament quarantine. Spain’s Paula Badosa tested positive for COVID-19 and said she felt “abandoned” by Australian Open officials during her isolation and called the experience “lamentable.”
“If I knew this would happen, I would have stayed at home, because the thing is how much shape I lost. It wasn’t worth it,” Badosa told Tennis.com.