Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut has apologized after criticizing the Victoria state government’s quarantine requirements for tennis players ahead of next month’s Australian Open and comparing being locked down in a hotel to being in prison.
Passengers who arrived on three charter flights have been placed into hard quarantine, including more than 70 players who are unable to train outside their rooms for 14 days before the year’s first Grand Slam starts on Feb. 8.
A number of top players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, have questioned the need for mandatory hotel quarantine but Victoria premier Daniel Andrews said it was essential to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s like [being] in a jail,” Israeli television channel Sport 5 quoted world number 13 Bautista Agut as saying.
“It’s the same [as being in prison], but with Wifi. These people have no idea about tennis and about practice courts and it’s a complete disaster.
“The control of everything isn’t Tennis Australia, it’s with the government [and health officials].”
Bautista Agut, who reached the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2019, apologized for the comments in a post on Instagram, saying they had been made in a private conversation that was released to the media without his knowledge or consent.
“Both my coach and I are following protocols designed by the Australian Government and Tennis Australia to avoid any risk and guarantee to compete again in a safe way,” Bautista Agut added.
“I thank all the people who are making playing tennis again possible.”
Making the best of a situation
Czech Barbora Strycova, a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2019, backed the strict health protocols and said she was getting on with it.
“I’m exercising twice a day, reading some books, being on social [media] and watching TV,” she told SEN Breakfast.
“I can’t really complain. I really have to go through it and try to be as positive as I can be.”
After another loss to Senators, Flames’ season may hinge on next three games – Sportsnet.ca
Here’s the thing about Bingo.
If you don’t take advantage of the free space in the middle of the card, you’re increasing the odds of everyone else around you.
To simply keep pace with division rivals, wins over the last-place Senators are a must, which is why the Flames’ season may very well hang in the balance over their next three games.
A Saturday matchup against the Edmonton Oilers is bookended by visits from a Senators team that just took the Flames’ lunch money once again.
A 5-1 loss Monday, combined with a 6-1 defeat Thursday, saw the rebuilding Senators outscore the Flames 14-8 over three games.
Sure the Senators are a hard-working squad that has improved steadily of late, winning six of their last nine.
But they’re still the Senators, a team the Oilers beat all four meetings, the Vancouver Canucks beat all three meetings and the Jets topped in four of five.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are 3-1-1 against their provincial rivals, leaving the sinking Montreal Canadiens as the only team that has played them to a draw at 1-1-2.
Then there are the sad-sack Flames, who lead the league in losses to last-place teams, giveaways and consecutive defeats while scoring just a single goal.
They increased that last dubious record to seven games Monday.
“All the teams in this division are good — there’s not much of a difference from the top teams to the bottom,” said Elias Lindholm, whose club escaped the first period with a scoreless draw before being outshot 22-6 in the second.
“Today, our first period was pretty solid and everything we did good in the first we did the opposite in the second and third. I think our patience out there was pretty bad and we started making some tough plays and turning pucks over — the kind of things we need to stop doing.”
The Senators opened the scoring after Sam Bennett was unable to handle a bad pass in the neutral zone from Milan Lucic.
Drake Batherson’s first of two goals put the Senators up 2-0 before a Lucic power-play marker lifted the Flames’ hopes. Briefly.
Eighty-four seconds later David Rittich got in on the giveaway game by mishandling a dump-in he promptly batted to Batherson, whose shot deflected in off of Mark Giordano as the Flames netminder tried scrambling back into the net.
It was another in the growing collection of moments that deflated the Flames’ bench and made it tough to create any offence as Ottawa sat on the lead and padded the humiliation with an empty-netter and a late deflection.
“We’ve got to come up with the solutions ourselves,” said coach Geoff Ward, whose team now sits closer to last place than it does to second-place Edmonton.
“As a team, we’ve got to be more committed to playing the game the right way. We’ve got to make sure we don’t let things compound. When something happens that’s not the way we want it to be we can’t fall back — we have to get a push in the right direction. Right now, when things are rolling the way they are for us, I think the confidence gets a little fragile and things start to compound, and we’ve got to find a way to make it turn the corner the other way.”
The Flames finish their gruelling, six-game roadie 2-3-1 and return to host Ottawa on Thursday having lost seven of their last 10.
Moral and consistency issues abound.
The players are struggling to come up with answers to the same old questions, and Matthew Tkachuk was so despondent after the latest setback he couldn’t muster up any of the fury you’d expect to hear from a leader on a team slipping closer and closer to losing control on the season.
“The easy answer is we’re at 10-11-2,” said Tkachuk when asked where his team was at.
“We’ve got to figure this out in the next two days before we play them again. We’re getting way too used to games where we’re down a couple in the third.”
Especially against teams previously considered the free spot on the Bingo card.
ATP roundup: Andy Murray rallies for win in Rotterdam
Qualifier Andy Murray rallied from three games down in the third set to defeat Dutchman Robin Haase 2-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 on Monday at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
The former world No. 1 of England needed nearly 2 1/2 hours to secure his first tour-level victory since the 2020 U.S. Open.
In other action, Japan’s Kei Nishikori upset No. 7 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada in straight sets, qualifier Marton Fucsovics of Hungary needed three sets to defeat American Reilly Opelka, and England’s Cameron Norrie toppled Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili in straight sets.
Seeded players ruled the day in Buenos Aires as No. 6 Pablo Andujar and No. 7 Laslo Djere advanced in the Argentina Open.
Spain’s Andujar defeated Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero 6-3, 6-0 and Djere of Serbia needed three sets to hold off Italy’s Marcus Cecchinato 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-3.
In other action, Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro toppled Roberto Carballes Baena of Spain in straight sets and Germany’s Dominik Koepfer outlasted Argentinian qualifier Thiago Agustin Tirante 2-6, 6-3, 6-4.
–Field Level Media
Demko earns shutout as Canucks ride hot start to win over Jets – Sportsnet.ca
WINNIPEG — When the Vancouver Canucks discovered that screened point shots were getting results, they kept doing it.
By the time the Winnipeg Jets figured things out, it was too late.
Vancouver scored three first-period goals in similar fashion Monday night in a 4-0 victory at Bell MTS Place. Nate Schmidt, J.T. Miller and Nils Hoglander staked the Canucks to an early lead and Thatcher Demko did the rest, making 27 saves for his first shutout of the season.
All three goals came from shots inside the blue line that were tipped, redirected or knuckled past Winnipeg goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
“When you know you can get yourself into those areas, that’s where the goals are scored,” said Schmidt. “I was proud of our guys for how we got to those areas tonight.”
Elias Pettersson sealed it with an empty-net goal as the Canucks (9-14-2) won for the first time in five games and ended Winnipeg’s four-game winning streak.
“I think top to bottom we had some good efforts tonight,” said Canucks head coach Travis Green.
After being held to one shot on goal over the first eight-plus minutes, Schmidt sent a fluttering shot from the high slot past a screened Hellebuyck at 8:28.
A similar play just 18 seconds later doubled Vancouver’s lead. This time Schmidt’s point shot was redirected by Miller at 8:46.
Vancouver’s second power-play unit used the same formula to extend the lead at 14:50. Tyler Myers sent a wrist shot from inside the blue line that Hoglander tipped to make it 3-0.
Demko, meanwhile, was steady when needed in the Vancouver net. He gave up few rebounds and delivered when the Jets pressed late in the game.
“I think over the last handful of games, our defensive side of things is coming along really nicely,” Demko said. “Tonight was kind of the pinnacle of building up to this point.”
After a sluggish first period, the Jets (13-7-1) seemed more inspired in the second period but had difficulty delivering any sustained pressure.
Mark Scheifele had two decent chances midway through the third period and Blake Wheeler was denied after a crafty deflection on a Sami Niku shot.
The Jets pulled Hellebuyck with over five minutes left in regulation. Winnipeg hit the post on a deflected shot before Pettersson put the game away at 16:26.
The teams will face off again Tuesday night in the finale of the Jets’ four-game homestand.
“You’ve got to have a short memory in this league,” Scheifele said. “You can’t dwell on things too long. You’ve got to get a good sleep tonight and get ready for tomorrow.”
The Canucks had 19 shots on goal and improved to 4-8-0 on the road.
After Tuesday’s game, the Jets will take to the road for 12 of their next 14 games.
The Canucks will return home to kick off a five-game homestand Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Rogers Arena.
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