World number 24 Vekic said that entering self-isolation after the Palermo Open finishes would “suck”, posing in the city where the women’s tour has returned from its suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 24-year-old revealed players had not been observing a “bubble” of the kind that is likely to be enforced at the US Open in New York at the end of next month, posting photos of herself sightseeing and going out to restaurants while calling for players who act similarly at the Grand Slam to be fined.
“I have a feeling that in New York it will be a real bubble,” she said, looking ahead to the much-debated tournament that has already seen the likes of world number one Ashleigh Barty pull out over health concerns during the pandemic.
“[In Palermo] they talk about us being in a bubble but it’s not at all. I don’t want to pretend that I’m locked in the room the whole day when I’m not.
“I went to dinner in the city. For sure, we’re being careful and not being close to people, but I’m not locked in the room and 90% of the players aren’t.
“I hope in New York there will actually be fines and if everyone respects that and it makes sense, then I’m all for it.”
Vekic took part in Novak Djokovic’s contentious Adria Tour events last month, which culminated in several stars and members of their entourages testing positive for the virus after largely ignoring distancing precautions in regions where the pandemic had not been seen as a significant threat.
Her views have been met with criticism of the kind that Djokovic and many of the other participants on his tour have received since the fiasco.
“How does someone mention ‘I want fines in New York’ and ‘we’re recommended to stay in here, but I’m out sightseeing’ in the same breath and not see the contradiction?” asked one, while others accused Vekic of arrogance and a lack of common sense.
“If you want the circuit to resume then stop going for dinner in the city,” warned a fan.
“Is it really that hard? Your appearance at the Adria Tour was already mind-blowingly stupid, so why don’t you try to follow the rules and stay low-key for a bit?”
Vekic, who is a member of the WTA Player Council, said she was concerned about the situation in New York City, where there have been more than 231,000 cases and more than 23,000 deaths.
“I’m just more worried about different kinds of scenarios [and] what’s going to happen if someone does test positive in New York,” she explained.
“What happens then? I think the [United States Tennis Association] hasn’t been able to answer a lot of the questions. That’s more my concern.”
Vekic would face a tricky logistical situation if she was required to quarantine for a fortnight after the US Open, with a quick turnaround before the scheduled start of the French Open on September 27.
She has reached the second round in Palermo, where her rivals include Czech world number three Karolina Pliskova.