One of the 72 athletes following strict quarantine before the 2021 Australian Open, Barbora Strycova has been a moderating force from her Melbourne hotel room, preaching patience to her follow players.

"We have to be able to see things from the perspective of other people," she said in a phone interview with last week, "because I totally understand that they may be unhappy with players complaining. They don’t care that we’re athletes or we have to play tennis. They just don’t want to have any more virus after working so hard to have zero cases, and they want to keep it that way."


The Czech veteran is nonetheless eager to rejoin the living—and reignite her lifelong love affair with her favorite city—once the requisite 14 days are up.

"You know how much I love food, so I’ve already put a list together of restaurants I want to visit. I already have eight of those, and three coffee shops I want to visit," she says. "The first thing I’ll do is pack my bags, go to my apartment, and have that long, long walk in the fresh air, with a coffee in my hand, and maybe also a burger!

"I'm even excited to see a tree up close, to see how green it is. It will be so wonderful just to be outside again!"

Strycova maps out 
Melbourne adventure 

Strycova maps out Melbourne adventure post-quarantine

Strycova (left) won her first Australian Open junior title in 2002 alongside boys champion Clément Morel. (Getty Images)

Strycova has special memories in Melbourne that date back to the beginning of her career, dating back to when she captured back-to-back junior titles in 2002 and 2003—the former came against Maria Sharapova in the final.


"I liked the Rebound Ace. It was really my surface," she says. "It was so quick and the ball would really fly in the heat. They've changed the surface since then, but it can still be quick; at the beginning of the tournament, the surface will be slower, but by the end, it's incredibly fast again. Last year, for example, I was on Court No. 5 and I just couldn’t!"

Strycova will be making her 14th main draw appearance at the Australian Open.