Covid scare 5 days earlier than Australian Open

Melbourne, February 3

Up to 600 players and support staff connected to the Australian Open will have to isolate until they have been tested for Covid-19 after a hotel quarantine worker in Melbourne returned a positive result for the virus today.

Play at the six warm-up events for the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park was heavily disrupted with organisers Tennis Australia cancelling all matches for Thursday.

“Those associated with the AO who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result,” the organisers of the February 8-21 Grand Slam said in a statement. “We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible. There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today.”

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said the positive case should not impact the Australian Open itself and testing of contacts will start from Thursday.

“There is a number of about 500, 600 people who are players and officials and others who are casual contacts,” Andrews said at a news conference late today.

Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, reintroduced the compulsory wearing of masks in indoor public places from tomorrow while private gatherings were reduced from 30 people to 15.

About 1,200 players, coaching staff and officials arrived in Australia at the middle of last month for the year’s first Grand Slam and went into a mandatory 14-day isolation.

The players were allowed five hours outside for training but 72 of them were confined to hotel rooms for the two weeks after passengers on three charter flights taking them to Australia tested positive for Covid. — Reuters

Kyrgios rants over time violation

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios frowned and fumed at the chair umpire during today’s Murray River Open match with Harry Bourchier and needed assurance from a tournament supervisor that he would not be fined by the ATP before agreeing to play on. The mercurial 25-year-old, playing his first tournament in nearly a year due to Covid-19 pandemic, walked off and refused to play after the chair umpire called a time violation when he was in his service motion late in the second set. A meeting with the supervisor followed, in which Kyrgios called the chair umpire a “smart arse”, adding: “Tennis is not about the umpires. He’s an extra to make sure all this… goes smoothly”. “I didn’t want to play until I made sure I wasn’t going to get fined, because the ATP does me pretty rough all the time, they fine me too much money,” Kyrgios, who has been fined several times for his meltdowns, said. Reuters

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