MELBOURNE, Australia — Thump, thump, thump on the ceiling. Thwack, Thwack, thwack on the wall.
After seven days restricted to a hotel room as part of a 14-day quarantine ahead of the Australian Open, it’s fair to wonder if paranoia has entered like a stealth intruder. Are the thumps and thwacks my version of Edgar Allan Poe’s beating heart?
Thank goodness, no. The player in the room directly above is practicing footwork drills. The player directly next door is hitting balls against our shared wall.
This is what final preparations for this year’s Australian Open look and sound like for more than three dozen players forced into a hard 14-day lockdown after people on their chartered flights tested positive for coronavirus after arriving in Melbourne.
The other athletes lucky enough to have traveled with nobody who tested positive? They get five hours outside their rooms each day to practice, train and eat.