Entitled star’s grovelling apology to Aus
Alize Cornet wants to say sorry, Australia.
The French tennis star has performed a sheepish 180, backing down from her criticism of the harsh COVID-19 restrictions that have forced 72 players into a 14-day isolation ahead of next month's Australian Open.
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Positive virus cases were confirmed on three flights carrying tennis players Down Under for the first grand slam of the year. And while competitors thought they'd be allowed out of their hotel for five hours a day to train, those who travelled on the affected flights are now confined to their rooms for the next two weeks.
Cornet led a furious backlash from disgruntled stars who complained the rules had been "re-written", some suggesting they never would have come had they been aware they faced a fortnight in lockdown should a single passenger on their flight test positive.
"Soon, half of the players from the AO will actually have to isolate," Cornet wrote in a since-deleted tweet on the weekend. "Weeks and weeks of practice and hard work going to waste for one person positive to COVID in a 3/4 empty plane. Sorry but this is insane.
"We've been told that the plane would be separated by section of 10 people and that if one person of your section was positive, then you had to isolate. Not that the whole plane had to.
"This seems to be a very sensitive subject and I understand it. We are privileged, indeed, but please try to get our point of view too. And btw, I was not in this plane.
"But we are not asking the Victorian residents to play a professional sport afterward. The risks of injury after a two-week break is huge. Maybe I'm too focused on my side of the story, but that's also why we are here for."
Given what Victoria endured last year, being forced to cope with some of the harshest lockdown restrictions in the world as it battled to reduce the spread of COVID-19, there was understandably plenty of opposition to Cornet's stance.
She was widely condemned for her sense of entitlement on social media, convincing her she needed to apologise after not fully appreciating the hardship Melbourne has endured - not to mention the fact Australians still can't cross borders to visit loved ones while tennis stars have been granted a free pass into the country.
"After my last (deleted) tweet I feel like I need to apologise to you Australian people," Cornet tweeted on Monday morning.
"Your reaction to this tactless comment made me realise what you've been through last year & how much you suffered. I guess I feel a bit anxious about all this & I better have shut my mouth.
"But sometimes we make mistakes and the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt your feelings. Don't be mad at me Aussie people, you've always been one of my favourite! I promise I'll stay quiet for a while. Take care."
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley maintained the grand slam will still go ahead as scheduled from February 8, and said organisers will do all they can to help players who are stuck in quarantine for two weeks.
Responding to accusations players hadn't been told they faced 14 days of isolation should anyone on their plane test positive, Tiley said the rules around quarantine and who would be classified as a "close contact" were determined by the Victorian Health Department.
"They are doing what they deem as necessary in order to keep our community safe," Tiley told Channel 9 on Sunday
"Obviously, what has changed over the last several weeks is the new UK strain which is more infectious and there is obviously a great desire by all of us to ensure that it doesn't come into our community.
"These conditions are constantly changing but there is always a risk. We did make it very clear at the beginning … there was always a risk that someone would be positive then and would have to go into 14 days of isolation.
"There was a risk on the plane that you would be a close contact. There was a risk that everyone could be a close contact.
"You don't know what the outcome of that decision or that risk is going to be until it actually happens. It is unfortunate that we are in an environment right now where we have got to manage it."
Originally published as Entitled star's grovelling apology to Aus