Tennis-Badosa slams quarantine conditions before Australian Open

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MADRID, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa has described her extended period of quarantine ahead of the Australia Open following a positive novel coronavirus test as the worst moment of her career, adding she felt abandoned by organisers.

Badosa, ranked 67 in the world, was the first player to test positive for the virus upon arrival in Australia ahead of the tournament and cannot leave her hotel room until Jan. 31.

If she is found to have been infected with the new strain of coronavirus, Badosa will only return to training on Feb. 5 which the Spaniard believes will be too late to regain her fitness.

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The Grand Slam, which has been delayed by three weeks due to disruption caused by the pandemic, takes place from Feb. 8-21.

"I feel abandoned because I don't have training equipment which I requested five days ago, I haven't been told which type of the virus I have, I've had no information from the tournament," she told Spanish newspaper Marca on Monday.

Australian Open organisers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Badosa, who said she had been suffering from anxiety and claustrophobia, has been limited to doing sit ups in her hotel room and using water bottles as weights to try to stay in shape.

The 23-year-old added that the room, which she is sharing with coach Javier Marti, was not suitable for an elite athlete.

"It's far and away the worst experience of my career," Badosa said.

"The conditions here are lamentable, I wasn't expecting that. The number one thing people recommend when you have the virus is to open the windows to let in air, but I don't have windows in my hotel room and it's barely 15 metres square."

"I have lost a lot of my fitness levels, especially my strength. If I can come out on January 31 I'll have a week to get in shape. If it's February 5 it'll be impossible to recover in time (for the tournament)," Badosa said.

The Spaniard, arrived in Melbourne after playing in Abu Dhabi earlier this month and was on her seventh day in quarantine when her test came back positive.

Seventy two players have been confined to hotel rooms for two weeks after passengers on three charter flights taking them to Australia had tested positive.

Last week, Kazakhstan's world number 28 Yulia Putintseva complained she had been struggling to sleep in her hotel room due to rodents scurrying around. read more

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Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris

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