Fresh Covid blow for Australian Open as Badosa tests positive - GulfToday

Fresh Covid blow for Australian Open as Badosa tests positive

Paula Badosa

Paula Badosa is the first female tennis player on the tournament’s roster to have a confirmed positive test. File

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.

“I have some bad news. I received a positive Covid-19 test. I’m feeling unwell and have symptoms,” the world number 67 tweeted.

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

A string of infections detected by Australian authorities have forced dozens of players to be confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks.

More than 1,000 players and staff arrived in largely coronavirus-free Australia on 17 charter planes last week, with the first cases detected on those flights.

All participants at the Australian Open were placed in quarantine on arrival in Australia.

Several previously announced positive cases have been reclassified as non-infectious.

But the entire contingent is spending 14 days in hotel quarantine, with players not considered close contacts of positive cases allowed outside to train for up to five hours a day in a biosecurity bubble.

The conditions have prompted complaints from several Tennis stars, including men’s world number 13 Roberto Bautista Agut who told a TV station that quarantine was like prison “with wifi”.

Badosa brings the number of positive cases linked to the Tennis tournament to 11.

Meanwhile, world number one Ash Barty will join Serena Williams, Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic in playing a pre-Australian Open exhibition event in Adelaide at the end of the month, organisers confirmed on Thursday.

US Open winners Dominic Thiem and Naomi Osaka and women’s No. 2 Simona Halep will be part of the eight-player field, which also includes 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner.

The Adelaide event, dubbed “A Day at the Drive”, will launch Australia’s summer of tennis and take place at the city’s Memorial Drive Tennis Centre on Jan. 29.

Barty, 24, has not played a competitive match since February, opting not to defend her French Open title and skipping the U.S. Open in New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am looking forward to playing my first match for the 2021 season in Adelaide,” said the Queenslander, who won a WTA event in Adelaide last year.


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