Paula Badosa, who tested positive to coronavirus during the pre-Australian Open hard quarantine period, says her illness and 21 days in isolation meant she could not compete at full fitness at Melbourne Park.
- Badosa tested positive on her seventh day of quarantine
- The Spaniard had been critical of the quarantine conditions players faced
- She says she was “hurting” physically during her first-round loss at the Australian Open
Badosa, who was only released from quarantine last week, also said she would not go through a hard lockdown before a major tournament again.
The Spaniard was speaking on Tuesday after her first-round exit at the Australian Open, where she went down 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 to Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova after two hours and 38 minutes on court.
Badosa tested positive to COVID-19 on her seventh day of quarantine in Melbourne last month.
She was one of 72 tennis players who were placed under a stricter lockdown after being on a flight with a passenger who tested positive to COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne.
Last month, the world number 70 publicly criticised the conditions players faced in hard quarantine and slammed Australian Open organisers for what she described as “the worst experience” of her career.
Badosa, who had not played since the WTA event in Abu Dhabi in early January, said on Tuesday she did not have the chance to regain full fitness ahead of the Australian Open.
“I think my level, it’s not even 70 per cent that I was before,” she told her post-match media conference.
Badosa said she was “totally against the clock” as she tried to get fit after being released from quarantine.
She said her body “was hurting” during the match against Samsonova, as she was suffering from cramping and anxiety.
“After 21 days in quarantine and one month without playing, I fought until the last minute but it wasn’t enough,” Badosa said.
“I think my level wasn’t on my best, like I started the year in Abu Dhabi. I’m a little bit disappointed on that.
“But all the credits to her (Samsonova). She played a very good match.”
Former world number one Angelique Kerber, who lost in the first round on Monday, said she would have reconsidered travelling to Australia if she knew hard quarantine was a possibility.
Badosa said she would never again do hard quarantine in the build-up to a major.
“I wouldn’t repeat it,” she said.
Badosa said she was misunderstood following her complaints while in hotel quarantine, revealing it was “tough” to read media reports about her comments.
She said she was critical of the quarantine conditions, not the program itself.
“I understand the rules,” Badosa said.
“I think you’re doing it very, very well in this country. That’s why you don’t have cases. But my complaint was never that.
“It was a little bit the conditions, because if you’re going to play a grand slam (tournament) … I needed fresh air or maybe a bigger room or better conditions to play against the best players. That was my complaint.”
Badosa is scheduled to take part in the women’s doubles draw at the Australian Open.