Former world number one Andy Murray said he was “gutted” after deciding to withdraw from next month’s Australian Open following a positive test for COVID-19 earlier this month.
- Andy Murray tested positive for coronavirus in London, before boarding a charter flight to Australia
- Murray said he had been in “constant dialogue” with organisers, but no solution could be reached
- Murray only played seven matches on the ATP Tour last year due to the pandemic and injury
The 33-year-old Murray, a wildcard, confirmed last Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus and was in self-isolation at his home near London.
That meant he was unable to take one of the charter flights laid on by Australian Open organisers, leaving him facing a race to be able to arrive in time to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine period as per health protocols.
“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray was quoted as saying by British media on Friday.
“We’ve been in constant dialogue … to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”
Even if Murray had managed to arrive in time he would have gone into the event with minimal time to practise.
“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts. I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love,” the Briton added.
It is another blow to the five-time Australian Open runner-up who last played at the tournament in 2019.
On that occasion, after a first-round defeat by Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut, he received an emotional farewell on the court as it appeared his career was coming to a close because of a long-standing hip injury.
Last year he played only seven Tour-level matches because of more injuries and the disruption caused by the pandemic, ending his season in October after a pelvic problem.
The three-time grand slam champion, currently ranked 123rd in the world, had pulled out of the season-opening Delray Beach Open in Florida earlier this month to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Seventy-two players are currently confined to their rooms in Melbourne after travelling on three flights where positive cases were found on arrival.
Spanish player Paula Badosa was the first player confirmed to have caught coronavirus after arriving in Australia.
She tested positive on her seventh day in hotel quarantine.
She will have to spend at least ten days from the date of her diagnosis in hotel quarantine, while other players will be permitted to leave at the end of next week.
The tournament is scheduled to start on February 8, three weeks later than usual.