Tennis-COVID conditions on player flights depart Australian Open buildup in disarray

By Melanie Burton, Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The construct-up to next month’s Australian Open

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The construct-up to next month’s Australian Open was thrown into disarray on Saturday when 47 players had been pressured into two weeks of demanding resort quarantine immediately after coronavirus bacterial infections were claimed on two chartered flights carrying them to Melbourne.

Two dozen gamers and their personnel landed from Los Angeles to go into quarantine right after an aircrew member and a passenger, who was not a participant, tested favourable for COVID-19.

A even further 23 players arriving by a chartered flight from Abu Dhabi met a related fate soon after a different non-participant passenger was found optimistic, the organisers of the year’s to start with grand slam stated in a assertion.

The players will “not be ready to go away their resort rooms for 14 days and till they are medically cleared,” they said.

“They will not be qualified to practise.”

Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, Mexico’s Santiago Gonzalez and New Zealander Artemis Sitak confirmed through social media that they had been on the flight from Los Angeles.

According to neighborhood media, two-time winner Victoria Azarenka, American previous U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens and Japan’s Kei Nishikori were also on the flight.

An additional player reportedly on the identical airplane was Tennys Sandgren, who was granted particular permission to travel from Los Angeles late past week soon after testing optimistic for the new coronavirus, which he experienced formerly experienced.

Tennis Australia stated in a assertion the decision to make it possible for Sandgren to fly had been designed just after a assessment by health care officers. A spokesperson for COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria reported it was widespread amid persons who formerly examined constructive to “shed viral fragments for some time – which can cause yet another optimistic result”.

FILE Photograph: Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne, Australia, January 14, 2018. Tennis balls are pictured in front of the Australian Open logo ahead of the tennis match. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photograph

Event director Craig Tiley said: “We are speaking with everybody on this flight, and specifically the playing team whose situations have now transformed, to be certain their wants are staying catered to as substantially as achievable.”

Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk claimed that she was on the flight from Abu Dhabi.

Quite a few gamers took to social media to vent their irritation and resentment at staying denied teaching.

“Weeks and weeks of exercise and really hard function going to waste for 1 person beneficial to Covid in a 3/4 vacant aircraft. Sorry but this is insane,” tweeted France’s Alize Cornet.

Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens criticised the choice to quarantine all the players on the flight, calling it “Russian roulette”.

New Zealand’s Sitak claimed it was “obviously not great” but he was mindful of the pitfalls forward, and he appeared relaxed about remaining grounded in his hotel room.

“I questioned for a bicycle, so ideally I’ll get 1 and keep in form, and we’ll in all probability be out on the 29th of January,” the 34-12 months-aged said in a video clip on his Instagram page.

He afterwards posted a photo of his exercising bicycle expressing “got this beauty”.

Just after the organisers found themselves on the receiving conclusion of several players’ wrath, Azarenka sounded a distinct be aware.

“If you have time to whine then you have time to come across solution,” the Belarusian tweeted.

Australia has agreed to take about 1,200 gamers, officers and team on 15 flights for the major sporting event starting on Feb. 8.

Reporting by Melanie Burton and Ian Ransom Extra reporting by Amlan Chakraborty Modifying by William Mallard, Jacqueline Wong and Hugh Lawson