Spain’s Paula Badosa has tested positive for the coronavirus while quarantined in a Melbourne hotel ahead of the Australian Open.
She is the first female tennis player on the tournament’s roster to have a confirmed positive test, the latest setback for preparations for the year’s first Grand Slam in Melbourne.
The tournament has already been delayed by three weeks to February 8-21 due to the pandemic.
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“I have some bad news. Today I received a positive COVID-19 test result. I’m feeling unwell and have some symptoms,” the world No. 67 tweeted. “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.
“Thanks for your support. We’ll be back stronger.”
Multiple infections detected on charter flights bringing players to Australia have forced dozens of stars to be confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks.
More than 1000 players and staff arrived Down Under on 17 charter planes last week, with the first cases detected on those flights.
Seventy-two participants at the Australian Open on the affected flights were placed in a 14-day hard quarantine on arrival in Australia.
The tough lockdown sparked furious backlash from some players, who complained the rules had been re-written. Initially believing they’d only be considered close contacts if someone in their entourage tested positive, angry stars hit out at being forced to quarantine because a passenger on their plane they didn’t know — and may not have been sitting near — contracted the virus.
Badosa was one of those competitors to hit out on the weekend.
“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 in a tweet that was later deleted.
“Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air.”
Men’s world No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut apologised during the week after telling a TV station that quarantine was like prison “with Wi-Fi”, not realising his remarks were being recorded.
However, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley rejected suggestions the rules had changed, saying all players were aware Victorian health authorities would decide who was considered a close contact in the event of a positive case.
Several previously announced positive cases have been reclassified as non-infectious.
Players not considered close contacts of positive cases are still staying in hotel quarantine for two weeks, but are allowed outside to train for up to five hours a day in a biosecurity bubble.
Badosa brings the number of positive cases linked to the tennis tournament to 11.