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Spanish tennis player with coronavirus could be in isolation for at least 14 days from positive test


Tennis players who test positive for coronavirus in hotel quarantine could be in isolation for days after their fellow competitors are free to leave, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer says.

Spanish player Paula Badosa tested positive for COVID-19 on her seventh day of hard quarantine, and has been moved to a health hotel to isolate.

Badosa had previously complained about being subjected to a stricter lockdown after being on a flight with someone who tested positive upon arrival in Melbourne.

She is required to spend at least 10 days in isolation from the date of her positive test, but that could be extended to 14 days if she is found to have the more virulent UK strain of the virus.

The other players who are in hotel quarantine are due to leave at the end of next week.

Spain's Paula Badosa plays a shot against Germany's Laura Siegemund.
Spain’s Paula Badosa tweeted that she’d returned a positive COVID test and has been moved to a health hotel.(AP: Christophe Ena)

Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton the extra time in quarantine was “an unfortunate consequence for anyone who becomes a case”.

If Badosa is found to have the UK strain, she will not be released from isolation until at least February 4, leaving her little time to prepare for the Australian Open, which begins on February 8.

People need to be symptom-free and meet other clinical criteria to leave the quarantine system, regardless of when they first tested positive.

Sutton defends ‘necessary’ hard quarantine measures

Badosa said in a since-deleted tweet that she had not been expecting to have to isolate, even if there had been a positive result on her plane.

“At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane,” she wrote.

“Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air.”

Professor Sutton said the approach of quarantining everyone on the three planes where there were positive cases was “entirely appropriate, and that’s been borne out by this.”

“It’s certainly proof that the hard quarantine measures were necessary, you do need to manage each and every case with a great deal of precaution,” he said.

On Friday morning, Badosa tweeted that she was “grateful for being in Australia” and that “quarantine & preventive measures are pivotal right now”.

She maintained she was complaining about “rules that changed overnight”, even though Tennis Australia has said all players were made aware of Victoria’s quarantine rules for close contacts.

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Spain’s Royal Tennis Federation (RFET) overnight called for two players to be released from hard quarantine.

The statement said that the RFET “understand” the measures are taken for the good of everyone, but called for the confinement to be “compatible with the mental and physical health of the athletes”.

Premier Daniel Andrews would not say whether crowd allowances at Melbourne Park would change given Victoria’s run of days without a locally acquired case.

“We will always be guided by public health advice and we’ll strive to strike that difficult balance between making sure people can have something that is as close to normal as possible, but it has to be safe,” he said.

“We’re not going to see stadiums that are full, we’re not going to see, if you like, events that essentially pretend that this virus is gone because we desperately want it to.”

“We’ve got a process, we look at venues and events on a case by case basis and that’s served us well.”



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Local News - Victoria

No local COVID-19 cases for 16th day in Victoria as tennis player in quarantine tests positive


International arrivals – particularly foreign students and seasonal workers – are expected to dominate discussions at Friday’s national cabinet meeting. Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszscuk is also set to put forward her proposal to quarantine people in regional worker camps rather than CBD hotels.

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Meanwhile, infectious disease experts say Invasion Day rallies would pose minimal public health risks in Victoria, provided face masks are mandated and other safety precautions like social distancing are widely enforced.

Their comments come after Premier Daniel Andrews urged people not to attend a rally planned for Melbourne, as large gatherings are still banned under coronavirus rules.

Mr Andrews said now was not the time for protests. “This will be a different Australia Day; we’re in the midst of a global pandemic,” he said.

“It’s no time to be protesting, it just isn’t. We’ve built something precious and unique, Victorians have, through their sacrifice and their commitment and their compassion for each other and we have to safeguard that.”

On Thursday, three senior public health experts agreed that while the risk of an outbreak could not be ruled out, the danger would be minimal while there was no community transmission of COVID-19, and if precautions were taken by protesters.

Thousands marched through the streets of Melbourne to protest Australia Day last year, before COVID-19 took hold in the country.

Thousands marched through the streets of Melbourne to protest Australia Day last year, before COVID-19 took hold in the country.Credit:Chris Hopkins

“Given the direction we’re heading, with low transmission rates in the community and with high observance of appropriate precautions, the smoothest path may well be to allow protests within appropriate bounds,” University of Sydney infectious diseases expert Robert Booy said.

University of South Australia epidemiologist Adrian Esterman said: “There is risk in holding this protest, but it is quite minimal.”

La Trobe University epidemiologist Hassan Vally said: “The worst-case scenario is that there is a super-spreader in a huge crowd who could infect a lot of people that will all go back to different areas of Melbourne, and two weeks later we will have hundreds or thousands of cases. That’s our biggest fear.”

More to come.



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Australian Open tennis player Paula Badosa tests positive for COVID-19 in hotel quarantine in Melbourne


A Spanish tennis player ranked in the top 70 who was forced to quarantine in her hotel room after potentially being exposed to coronavirus on an Australian Open charter flight says she has tested positive for COVID-19.

Paula Badosa, a 23-year-old who reached the fourth round at last year’s French Open, wrote on Twitter that she received her test result on the seventh day of her hard quarantine, despite previously complaining about being forced to isolate.

“I have some bad news,” Badosa said in a post written in Spanish and English.

“Today I received a positive COVID-19 test result. I’m feeling unwell and have some symptoms, but I’ll try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors.

“I’ve been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored.”

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Badosa was among the 72 tennis players who were placed under a stricter lockdown — unable to leave their hotel rooms at all for two weeks — after being on a flight with someone who tested positive upon arrival in Melbourne.

Tennis Australia has refused to identify those dozens of players, but several have posted on social media about being in hard lockdown.

Badosa complained about quarantine before testing positive

A number of players have been complaining of being placed into full isolation, including Badosa, who said in a since-deleted tweet that she had not been expecting to have to isolate, even if there had been a positive result on the plane.

“At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane,” she wrote.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley said those players were in the minority and some other players, including Arem Sitek, said the rules had been communicated to players prior to them travelling.

Before the positive test became public, the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET) issued a statement in support of “each and every Spanish player who is currently suffering the consequences of confinement in Australia”.

The RFET said players had not been informed about the possibility of going into isolation based on a positive test on a plane, only if they returned a positive PCR test.

The statement said that the RFET “understand” the measures are taken for the good of everyone, but called for the confinement to be “compatible with the mental and physical health of the athletes”.

There were 17 tournament charter flights that arrived in Australia over three days last week.

Players and their entourages then needed to go through a mandatory 14-day quarantine ahead of the tournament.

Main-draw play is supposed to begin February 8 at Melbourne Park.

As it is, that is a three-week delay to the start of the hard-court major championship because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Badosa was on a flight carrying players and others to Melbourne from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

She is ranked 67th in singles and lost in the second round of the 2020 Australian Open last January.

Her career-best grand slam singles showing came in October at Roland Garros.

AP/ABC



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Two Australian Open tennis players test positive but may not have active coronavirus infections, Police Minister says



Ten positive COVID-19 tests have now been recorded among people who have flown to Melbourne for the Australian Open tennis tournament, including two players whose results were confirmed today.

Victoria’s Police Minister, Lisa Neville, said one of those new cases was a player who is in hard lockdown, and authorities believe their infection is not active, but shedding.

Ms Neville said another player and one of their support team have also tested positive and are unable to train until authorities can determine the status of their infections.

“In the meantime, the player, the support person and their bubble — so the other support person and player they’re with — will not be training until we have a final confirmation that they are shedding or that they are positive,” she said.

If they are positive, the player and their support person will go into the health hotel and their training partner and their support person will enter a hard quarantine as close contacts of a confirmed case, Ms Neville said.

The three new cases whose test results were received by the Victorian Government today will be reported in the official coronavirus numbers tomorrow, Ms Neville said.

Earlier, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said the hotel quarantine system was working well.

“We’re in our sixth day and so far our numbers have been extremely low and if they are active cases they go straight to the medi-hotel,” he said.

Paramedics this morning responded to a medical emergency at the View Hotel, where many tennis players have been quarantined.

Ambulance Victoria said one person was taken to hospital in a stable condition, but did not reveal whether the person was connected to the tennis.

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Player complaints still occupying Tennis Australia’s time

Tennis Australia has devoted considerable time to dealing with a vocal minority of players who have continued to complain about conditions in hotel quarantine.

Spanish player Roberto Bautista Agut issued an apology after he likened conditions in quarantine to being in jail, in a video he said was released without his consent.

In the video, Bautista Agut was critical of the Victorian Government, saying the quarantine arrangements were “a complete disaster”.

He later issued a statement saying it was a private conversation taken out of context and released to the media without his knowledge.

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Russian player Yulia Putintseva drew criticism yesterday for an Instagram post in which she was seen holding a protest sign in her hotel room.

Putintseva later continued to complain about cleanliness standards, posting videos of mice in her hotel room.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said Ms Putintseva was moved to a different room in the hotel, and she understood the player had been feeding the mouse.

“We don’t send cleaners into those rooms … so every tennis player needs to clean their own room and change their own bed if they want to do that,” she said.

“I’d just encourage them to minimise interaction with the mice, we will keep doing pest control if we need to, but hopefully that pest control work that was done this week will have fixed the problem.”

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Mr Tiley said Tennis Australia had to remind players that their complaints may not be well received in Melbourne.

“We’re doing the best we can to ask the players to be respectful of the Victorian community, who’ve been through a really tough time over four months of a lockdown, and paid significant prices in loss of life and also in jobs,” he said.

“It’s just one of those environments that we have to every single day talk to the players and ask them to respect that position.

“I believe the majority of them are, it’s just a select few that are not there yet.”

British player Johanna Konta spoke up during a conference call with hundreds of players earlier this week, urging them to be mindful of local sentiment and keep their complaints private.

She told Channel Nine that emotions were running high during the first few days of quarantine, and players were simply anxious about how they would perform after two weeks in a hotel room.

“A big part of that frustration for these players will be how well will they be able to perform and I think that just comes along with being a professional athlete and sometimes rationale doesn’t come into it,” she said.

“The reason we are here is to put on a show for the people of Australia, the people of Melbourne, and also the world stage.”

Quarantine bill to be paid in full by Tennis Australia

Ms Neville estimated the cost of quarantining players ahead of the Australian Open would run into the tens of millions of dollars, and said the bill would not be paid by the Government.

Earlier today, Mr Tiley suggested to Melbourne radio station 3AW that the Victorian Government would help out with quarantine costs, but could not say how much they would contribute.

“Well that’s still to be determined — perhaps next week or the week after we’ll know that, whatever the quarantine costs end up being,” he said.

Mr Tiley said Tennis Australia had exhausted its $80 million dollar cash reserve and had taken out a loan to fund the costs associated with player flights and hotel quarantine, but Ms Neville said his claims about taxpayers funding part of the bill were not correct.

“Hotel quarantine for the Australian Open is fully funded by Tennis Australia. I’ve triple-confirmed that again today [after seeing that information], it is fully funded by the Australian Open,” she said.

She said while the Government supported the Australian Open “as an event”, as it does with all big events, the additional cost of the quarantine arrangements was being funded by Tennis Australia.

“The taxpayer is not contributing to the [Australian Open] hotel quarantine program,” she said.

Tennis Australia is yet to reveal whether allowances will be made in its schedule for the 72 players in hard quarantine, but Mr Tiley hinted that could be a possibility.

“I think how we can adjust is what happens in the lead-in events, how many lead-in events we have and when we start and what the schedule is for those players who need more time,” he said.



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Matthew Glaetzer sees positive side of delayed Olympics ahead of Adelaide Festival of Cycling


For many in the Olympic sporting world, the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic could not have been any more chaotic.

With the Tokyo Games postponed for 12 months, turning a four-year Olympic cycle into five, some athletes just could not hang on, opting instead to retire.

For others, seemingly at the peak of their powers, their chance to win gold may well have disappeared with the addition of yet another preparation year.

Australian cyclist Matthew Glaetzer, though, has an entirely different view.

While not prepared to say COVID-19 was a blessing, there is no doubt he has benefitted.

“I’m really good,” Glaetzer said, as he approaches the final stages of preparation for what should be his third Olympics.

“I’m fit, I’m healthy and it’s just actually an opportunity to be primed for the Olympics and not just getting to some sort of state that you’re good enough to race.

Matt Glaetzer of Australia celebrates taking the gold.
Matt Glaetzer won gold in the 1,000m time trial during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.(AAP: Dan Peled)

If the Olympics were held last year as planned, Glaetzer admits he would have struggled to compete in his three disciplines — the sprint, team sprint and keirin.

He spent the latter part of 2019 being treated for thyroid cancer.

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Fortunately, it was caught early and was treatable, and so he moved into 2020 hopeful of a great outcome in Tokyo, only to have another setback.

“I tore my calf in February and missed the World Championships,” Glaetzer said.

“I saw my competition win all four sprint events at the world championships when I was laying on the couch and couldn’t walk with a torn calf so that was a bit rough.”

He struggled to get back to racing before the epidemic really took hold.

“We were all training at home and then the Olympics get cancelled and that actually allowed me to get my body right after injuring myself and all the health complications and everything,” Glaetzer said with a disarming grin.

“It was a year of resetting and just getting ready for this final push now for Tokyo.”

Australians to prepare for Tokyo at home

Australia’s track endurance coach Tim Decker has watched Glaetzer’s progress while looking after his own athletes at their shared training venue in Adelaide.

“Over a 12-week period towards the end of last year, watching Matt really progress and get back to where he’s been before and just a little bit above that has been pretty exciting,” Decker said.

“I think Matt’s still got room to move and once again, he’s got the ability to be on the podium at the Olympics Games.”

Glaetzer went to the Olympics for the first time in London, arriving as a world champion in the team sprint.

However, he missed a medal, finishing fourth.

Patrick Constable and Matthew Glaetzer
Matthew Glaetzer (left) and his Australian team sprint colleagues finished fourth in Rio.(AP: Pavel Golovkin)

In Rio, he again finished fourth in the team sprint, lost the bronze medal race to be relegated to fourth in the sprint and was 10th in the keirin.

The pandemic means this year’s preparation will be a little different.

One of the few opportunities to compete will be at the Festival of Cycling, starting in Adelaide on Tuesday night.

“There’s very minimal, if any, international racing in the lead-up to the Olympics so it’s up to us to manage that and make the most of those few races that we have,” Glaetzer said.

“There are some sort of things that we can manufacture in terms of preparing in that sort of race craft area but again it’s pretty minimal.”

Decker will be preparing his own squad under similar restrictions to the sprinters.

“I think probably the most exciting thing if the Games go ahead, will be there’ll be a great deal of unknown.” he observed.

“As a coach you don’t like it but also it’s unknown for everybody else so you like that side of it.

“You know how you’re going in your backyard but you don’t know how the others are going and it’s a flip the other way too — they don’t know how you’re going.

“We’re going to have to really train the physical side of things well but also take care of the mental side of the athlete and make sure that they’re mentally prepared and have a good vision of what they want to achieve at the Olympics Games.”



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Local News - Victoria

Melbourne hotel quarantine staff test negative after preliminary positive COVID-19 swabs


The Alfred Health nurse worked in a “front of house” role at the hotel and was responsible for checking temperatures on those arriving there. She wore full personal protective equipment and a face shield.

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The Victoria Police officer worked as a floor monitor.

Alfred Health stood down 36 staff at the hotel as a precaution, including 33 nurses and three cleaning staff, and at least four other Victoria Police members were put into isolation after dining with the officer who returned the positive saliva swab.

The Holiday Inn in Melbourne’s CBD is being used as a “hot” hotel to quarantine COVID-19 positive returning travellers.

Transmission of the virus between returning travellers and private security guards in May and June last year sparked Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19, causing hundreds of deaths and months of hard lockdowns.

Further comment is being sought from DHHS and Victoria Police.



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Fourth Australian Open arrival tests positive for coronavirus, people in hotel quarantine warned over breaches



A fourth person who flew into Melbourne for the Australian Open has tested positive for COVID-19, as dozens of tennis players prepare to spend two weeks unable to practice outdoors after being deemed close contacts.

COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV) commissioner Emma Cassar said the latest positive case was a member of a broadcast team who travelled to Victoria on a chartered flight from Los Angeles.

Two other passengers on that flight — a crew member and a tournament participant who is not a player — were confirmed as having the virus yesterday.

One passenger on another flight, EY8004 from the United Arab Emirates, also tested positive after arriving in Melbourne, CQV confirmed late last night.

All of the passengers on those planes, which included 47 tennis players, have been classed as close contacts and will be confined to their rooms for 14 days.

Under the Australian Open quarantine rules, COVID-negative players are allowed to leave their rooms for five hours training per day during their two-week hotel quarantine period.

Ms Cassar said Sunday’s training had been delayed while authorities waited for the test results of the more than 1,000 players and staff who had arrived between Thursday night and Saturday morning.

The EY8004 passenger, Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, said he had tested negative and had no symptoms before departing.

He said he had followed all COVID safety protocols and had no idea how he contracted the virus.

“I am extremely saddened and sorry for the consequences now on everyone’s shoulders sharing my flight,” he said in a statement Tennis Canada posted on Twitter.

“The rest of my team is negative, and I sincerely hope that any further disruption is kept to a minimum.”

People in quarantine ‘testing our procedures’

Ms Cassar said there had been a “small few” people within the Australian Open quarantine hotels who were “testing our procedures” and had tried to leave their rooms.

“These procedures are in place to keep people safe,” she said.

“I can give you two examples, a player who opened his door to try and have a conversation with his training mate down the hallway. Again, he’s got a phone, you can pick up the phone and use the telephone as opposed to putting you and others at risk,” she said.

“The other was another gentleman who shouted some Uber Eats to some other people on the floor and was praising his great efforts and opened his door to do so.

“It is really low-level but really dangerous acts which we just can’t tolerate.”

One of the people was a player, Ms Cassar said.

She said there was “zero tolerance” for the “challenging behaviours” and CQV had contacted Victoria Police to step up compliance.

She said for those “persistently breaching” the rules, they could be fined or transferred to a complex health hotel where a Victoria Police officer would be stationed at every door.

‘No-one ever told us’: Tennis players complain about close contact rules

Victoria has recorded zero local coronavirus cases for the 11th consecutive day, out of 11,023 test results received in the 24 hours to midnight on Saturday.

Seven new infections were recorded in hotel quarantine, which includes the three connected to the Australian Open.

Some tennis players have said they were not aware that an entire flight would be required to isolate if someone tested positive, and have argued the rules put them at a disadvantage.

“What I don’t understand is that, why no-one ever told us, if one person on board is positive the whole plane need to be isolated … I would think twice before coming here,” Kazakh player Yulia Putintseva said on Twitter.

Romanian player Sorona Cirstea said after isolating for two weeks, she would need “at least three weeks after in order to be in decent form again and compete at a high level”.

She also said she was not aware everyone on a flight would be considered a close contact if a passenger tested positive.

“I have no issues to stay 14 days in the room watching Netflix. Believe me this a dream come true, holiday even,” she said on Twitter.

“What we cant do is COMPETE after we have stayed 14 days on a couch. This is the issue, not the quarantine rule.”

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Swiss tennis player Belinda Bencic said after arriving in Melbourne, players received an information book with rules they did not know about before they decided to compete in the Australian Open.

“We are not complaining to be in quarantine. We are complaining because of unequal practice/playing conditions before quite important tournaments,” she said on Twitter.

Victorian Government says rules were ‘very clear’

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley said officials would do whatever they could to “make it as fair as possible” for players who were in isolation.

“This is not an ideal situation — in the pandemic right now it’s not an ideal situation for anyone — we’ve got to play our part to ensure the community stays safe, and that was the objective all along,” he said on the Today Show.

“Our Chief Health Officer is ensuring that, and we made a commitment to the community of that, so it is unfortunate, but we’re going to do whatever we can to make a bad situation better.”

He said Tennis Australia made it clear that if someone tested positive, there was a risk of other Australian Open participants being required to self-isolate.

“The determination of who was and who wasn’t a close contact was going to be entirely up to the Health Department, and they’re doing what they deem is necessary to keep our community safe,” he said.

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the conditions and prerequisites were “made very clear” to participants in the Australian Open.

“Our health advice has always been consistent in terms of how close contacts are determined, all of that information is known, was known, and we are absolutely sticking to the safety requirements that our health experts are telling us need to be in place,” she said.

“This is about making sure that we continue with the Australian Open but doing it in a way that keeps the broader community safe and keeps Victoria open.”

Mr Tiley said the February 8 start of the Australian Open was not being delayed, but officials may look at adjusting the schedules of some of the tournaments in the lead-up if necessary.



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Andy Murray in doubt, Madison Keys out as Tennys Sandgren boards flight to Melbourne for Australian Open despite recent positive COVID-19 test


Andy Murray’s return to the Australian Open is in doubt after the Scotsman tested positive for COVID-19 just days before he was due to fly to Australia via a charter flight.

The three-time grand slam champion and five-time Australian Open finalist is isolating at home near London, the tournament said in a statement.

“The AO fans love Andy, and we know how much he loves competing here in Melbourne and how hard he’d worked for this opportunity.”

Murray has reportedly not given up on making the trip and had earlier backed out of the Delray Beach Open in Florida to “minimise the risks” of contracting the virus through international travel.

However, that could prove difficult with players and officials required to arrive in Australia during a 36-hour window from Thursday and needing to serve a mandatory isolation of 14 days.

Murray has been given a wildcard entry into the first grand slam tournament of 2021.

Murray is not the only player to suffer a COVID blow with women’s world number 16 Madison Keys pulling out after testing positive for COVID-19.

“I’m very disappointed to not be able to play in the coming weeks after training hard in the off-season and knowing Tennis Australia and the tours did so much to make these events happen,” Keys wrote on Twitter, while also announcing her positive test.

Sandgren allowed to come to Australia despite positive test

While Keys is out, Murray could potentially compete in Australia, after American player Tennys Sandgren was given special clearance to board a charter flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne despite testing positive for COVID-19 in November and again on Monday.

Sandgren received an exemption after Australian health officials assessed his case history.

Sandgren tweeted he tested “COVID positive” on Monday, after originally testing positive in late November, and was initially barred from the flight containing international players out of Los Angeles.

But the world number 50 said he was then allowed to join the delayed flight, calling Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley a “wizard”.

Sandgren, a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, tweeted he was not contagious and had “totally recovered”.

“My two tests were less than eight weeks apart. I was sick in November, totally healthy now,” his tweet read.

COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria released a statement this afternoon saying it had reviewed Sandgren’s positive test result “as per standard processes” and he was cleared to travel to Australia.

It said the evidence in Sandgren’s case “suggested he had recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection and is still shedding viral particles”.

“For people who have previously tested positive and have since recovered, it is common to shed viral fragments for some time — which can trigger another positive result,” the statement read.

“Any person who returns a positive test result has their medical and case history reviewed by a team of public health experts.

“Only those who are determined to be recovered and no longer infectious will be allowed to travel to Australia.”

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Victorian Police and Emergency Services Minister Lisa Neville supported the decision to allow Sandgren to board the flight to Australia.

“Tennys Sandgren’s positive result was reviewed by health experts and determined to be viral shedding from a previous infection, so was given the all clear to fly,” Ms Neville tweeted.

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Tennis Australia said it was following Victorian Government guidelines on players being allowed to fly to Melbourne.

“Any recovered case must go through this process in order to have an opportunity to travel here for the Australian Open,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.

“No one can travel without either proof of a negative test or this special clearance from authorities confirming they are not infectious.

“Upon arrival all players are immediately placed in a secure quarantine environment for 14 days under the authority of COVID Quarantine Victoria and will undergo a more rigorous testing schedule than most returning travellers.”

The Australian Open will start at Melbourne Park on February 8 and run until February 21.

The first charter flight carrying players contesting the Australian Open arrived in Melbourne this evening.

Earlier this week, three hotels were added to Victoria’s hotel quarantine program to accommodate the arrivals.

These are the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, the View on St Kilda Road, and the Pullman hotel in Albert Park.

The entrance to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.
There will be three quarantine hotels for Australian Open tennis players and staff in Melbourne.(ABC News: Chris Le Page)

Players and their support people will be allowed to leave their hotel rooms for up to five hours per day to complete training.

Each hotel will have its own dedicated training facility.

Dedicated training venues have also been set up at Melbourne Park, the National Tennis Centre and Albert Reserve.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are on a separate charter flight that will fly direct to Adelaide for a planned exhibition event in the South Australian capital.

AAP/ABC/AP



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Tennys Sandgren boards flight to Melbourne for Australian Open despite recent positive COVID-19 test


American tennis player Tennys Sandgren says he has been allowed to board a chartered flight to Melbourne for the Australian Open, despite recently testing positive for coronavirus.

Sandgren tweeted he tested “COVID positive” on Monday, after originally testing positive in late November, and was initially barred from the flight containing international players out of Los Angeles.

But the world number 50 said he was then allowed to join the delayed flight, calling Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley a “wizard”.

Sandgren, a two-time Australian Open quarter-finalist, tweeted he was not contagious and had “totally recovered”.

“My two tests were less than eight weeks apart. I was sick in November, totally healthy now,” his tweet read.

Tennis Australia (TA) would not comment specifically on Sandgren’s situation but said it was following Victorian Government guidelines on players being allowed to fly to Melbourne.

“Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 and who are non-infectious can continue to shed the virus for several months,” TA said in a statement.

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“Victorian Government public health experts assess each case based on additional detailed medical records to ensure they are not infectious before checking in to the charter flights.

The Australian Open will start at Melbourne Park on February 8 and run until February 21.

The first players contesting the Australian Open are scheduled to arrive in Melbourne this evening.

Earlier this week, three hotels were added to Victoria’s hotel quarantine program to accommodate the arrivals.

These are the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne, the View on St Kilda Road, and the Pullman hotel in Albert Park.

The entrance to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne.
There will be three quarantine hotels for Australian Open tennis players and staff in Melbourne.(ABC News: Chris Le Page)

Players and their support people will be allowed to leave their hotel rooms for up to five hours per day to complete training.

Each hotel will have its own dedicated training facility.

Dedicated training venues have also been set up at Melbourne Park, the National Tennis Centre and Albert Reserve.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are on a separate charter flight that will fly direct to Adelaide for a planned exhibition event in the South Australian capital.

AAP



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Australian Open qualifying draw ‘compromised’ after Denis Kudla tests positive to coronavirus in Doha


A Moroccan tennis player says his opponent’s positive COVID-19 test result was announced during their Australian Open qualifying match, leaving them both out of the tournament.

American Denis Kudla was rushed into quarantine at the qualifying event in Doha after a positive test.

Fourth-seeded Kudla downed Moroccan Elliot Benchetrit 6-4 6-3, but the match ended in controversy.

The positive COVID-19 test result reportedly came through with Kudla leading 5-3 in the second, and according to Benchetrit they had to finish the game in progress.

Because world number 114 Kudla won that game, which wrapped up the match, he was declared the winner.

If Benchetrit had won the game to extend the match, it would have been declared a walkover in his favour.

“At 5-3, they got the result. So to sum up: if I’d won that game at 5-3 to make it 5-4, I’d have qualified for the second round,” Benchetrit said on Instagram.

A man in a white polo shirt sitting in a chair talking to a phone.
Moroccan tennis player Elliot Benchetrit was eliminated from the tournament by a player who tested positive to COVID-19.(Instagram: Elliot Benchetrit)

He then had to wait to see if he would have faced the “double whammy” of losing the match and then having to spend a week in hotel quarantine in Qatar if he also tested positive.

He later shared another video on social media saying he had tested negative and was able to return home.

The positive test result for Kudla means Queenslander Dane Sweeny, who was to face the American in his second match, advanced straight to the final round of qualifying — which is being held offshore for the first time.

Argentine Francisco Cerundolo was also put into quarantine after returning a positive COVID-19 test.

Tennis Australia confirmed the positive tests in a statement.

“Two players have returned a positive COVID-19 test at AO men’s qualifying in Doha, Qatar. Both players have been withdrawn from the tournament and transferred to a quarantine hotel,” it said.

“Local health authorities, the tournament physician and medical team are monitoring each individual. Contact tracing is currently underway to notify close contacts.”

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Benchetrit told the Tennis Majors website that players were bizarrely permitted to play before getting their test results, which had taken longer than expected.

“The concept of a test is to have the information up front, to not put the lines people, the opponent or — quite simply — everyone the person might meet before or after their match in danger,” he said.

“There also are lucky losers who are waiting for a forfeit to be able to play, who travelled there for nothing.

“The draw is compromised; there will be a player in the third round of qualifications having played just one match.

“That’s also the problem.”

Benchetrit believes Kudla must have contracted the coronavirus in Doha, given this would have been his third test since arriving in Qatar.

AAP/ABC



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