‘Savage’ Australian border TV programmes prepared Heather Watson for quarantine

Heather Watson said watching “savage” Australian border control programmes on television as a child helped her deal with the reality of spending two weeks in hotel quarantine.

The British number two was among 72 people who were locked in their hotel rooms following positive Covid-19 cases on flights that had taken them to the country ahead of the Australian Open.

She left quarantine on Friday and told reporters it had been a “tough” experience that had required her to stay positive.

“I think every player didn’t realise … that we would be in a hard quarantine for two weeks,” she said in comments carried by Tennis Australia.

“I was sure we would stay for the 14 days and we wouldn’t be let out because I remember at home when I was younger I used to watch these Australian border control programmes on TV and they were always savage, so I knew that we were in there for the 14 days. So I accepted that pretty quickly.

“It was definitely tough. I wouldn’t say there was anything fun or easy about it. I just tried every day to be as positive as I could. I tried to exercise every day.”

The world number 58 said she was “super excited” to begin training on actual courts ahead of the Australian Open, but was taking a considered approach to warm-up tournament the Grampians Trophy.

She will meet the 36th-ranked Veronika Kudermetova of Russia at Melbourne Park, where major competitors and recent quarantinees including three-time grand slam winner Angelique Kerber and former Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka will also compete.

Bianca Andreescu has, however, withdrawn from the tournament to focus on the Australian Open, which will mark her first WTA match in more than a year.