Australian citizens are angered at the sight of preferential treatment being given to tennis stars. Dozens of tennis players are jetting in to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. Meanwhile, there are around 37,000 Australians stranded around the world waiting to return home. Many of these are frustrated at why they cannot return, while sports stars can enter Australia to play tennis. Organisers of the Australian Open have been chartering flights to ensure players and staff members can attend the event. All those who enter must have tested negative for coronavirus. They then have to stay in specially designated COVID-safe hotels. A number of stars have tested positive and so could not come.
The special treatment afforded to the stars has drawn criticism and ire from stranded Australians. There is particular consternation because Australia's government recently cut the weekly number of citizens allowed to return. An Aussie in London told the BBC: "I can't comprehend the fact that one week they announce they're halving the caps for citizens and the following week they announce they've found 1,200 spaces for tennis players and support staff." A Twitter user wrote: "Letting in 1,200 tennis players and their entourage...is a risky choice, and what hurts is that they'd take that risk for sport but not for stranded Aussies." He said: "The government can no longer claim it's just about the science".