Australia Open chief Craig Tiley said a request from a player for a kitten to play with during lockdown was the oddest demand his staff has to deal with during the 14-day quarantine ahead of the first slam of the year.

Tiley told the ABC in Melbourne several players made requests via Zoom calls to Australian Open staff.

“The most bizarre request was for a kitten in the lockdown room, and that wasn’t once, that was several times,” Tiley said.

“But then we explained that actually there is a correlation between the coronavirus and kittens and that kind of request went away.

“There were a few times I wouldn’t mind putting a boxing kangaroo in there,” Tiley added.

“These are high-performing athletes … We knew from the beginning that it would be a challenge.”