More than 1,000 people, players and their entourages, were obliged to undergo 14 days of quarantine upon their arrival in Australia ahead of the year's first Grand Slam.
And it is that the Greek power forward of the Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked about the Australian tennis player, who also has Greek roots, and "The Greek Freak" he surprised with the comparison he made in an ironic tone.
COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria said 12 people linked to the tournament exited isolation on Sunday, leaving three active cases still to be cleared.
She acknowledged the tough 14-day quarantine restrictions that were in place to allow the Australian Open to take place beginning February 8.
Unlike at last year's French and U.S. Opens, where the focus was on minimizing the risk of infection to the players, the measures in place for the Australian Open are to protect locals who paid dearly for the freedoms they now enjoy.
This includes Japan's Kei Nishikori and the French world No 28, Benoit Paire.
With Australia among the few nations in the world having largely defeated the virus, the tournament is not only set to get underway, but the stands will be relatively full. "We honestly haven't played in front of a crowd for over a year, it's been a really long time, so this is really cool", Williams said.
Serena Williams and Ash Barty headline two WTA tournaments - the Yarra Valley Classic and the Gippsland Trophy - which start on the Melbourne Park courts normally reserved for the Grand Slam.
Despite gripes from some at the start of quarantine, tournament chief Craig Tiley said he was "particularly proud" of the "playing group", most of whom will be out of quarantine by the end of Saturday.
Mr Tiley said the players who were in hard lockdown had been given "priority" with their schedules and access to training facilities. It was great to see tennis with crowds, having fun and enjoying their time.
"There have been a lot of questions about a fair playing field - some players have had to quarantine, some have not", Tiley said.
"They've had a test every day, there's no quarantine process in the world that has been as rigid as this one".
30,000 spectators a day will be allowed into Melbourne Park across the day and night sessions, before it's reduced to 25,000 a day for the final six days.