With Positive Tests, the Rules Change for Some Players in Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia — Organizers of the Australian Open confronted a rebel from gamers Saturday after passengers on two constitution flights bringing them to Melbourne examined optimistic for the coronavirus, prompting orders for everybody aboard to enter quarantine for 2 weeks.

The flights carried 47 gamers — together with a number of high opponents who had simply performed the primary occasion of the ladies’s tour final week in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates — in addition to some journalists, coaches and others.

Passengers have been requested to have adverse check outcomes for the virus inside 72 hours of the flights’ departures from Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi. They have been examined once more after touchdown in Melbourne, and three folks on the flights have been discovered to have the virus, prompting well being officers within the Australian state of Victoria to order that each one passengers stay of their resort rooms for 14 days.

For the gamers on the flights, meaning stricter restrictions than they’d deliberate on earlier than the Australian Open, the primary main tennis match of 2021, which is scheduled to start Feb. 8.

Entrants within the match agreed to remain of their rooms for 19 hours a day and have been allowed 5 hours every day on the tennis heart to follow, prepare and eat.

These guidelines acquired even tighter Saturday for the 47 gamers on the 2 constitution flights, who have been instructed they may not go away their resort rooms in any respect.

Tennis officers appealed for extra leniency for gamers who repeatedly check adverse of their first days in Australia, however authorities officers declined to melt the foundations. Gamers and tennis officers weren’t conscious after they moved forward with plans to stage the match that the federal government may impose such restrictions.

“We’re speaking with everybody on this flight, and notably the taking part in group whose situations have now modified, to make sure their wants are being catered to as a lot as attainable, and that they’re absolutely appraised of the scenario,” mentioned Craig Tiley, the chief government of Tennis Australia, which is organizing the match.

Tiley held a sequence of inauspicious videoconferencing periods with gamers to elucidate the modifications.

In a livestream on Instagram on Saturday night time, Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine instructed her fellow participant Paula Badosa of Spain that she had been blindsided by the ruling and must compete on an uneven taking part in area.

“It’s in regards to the thought of staying in a room for 2 weeks and having the ability to compete,” mentioned Kostyuk, who couldn’t bear in mind the final time she didn’t choose up a racket for 2 weeks. “Now we have to remain in quarantine, however now we have to meet expectations.”

The fast-changing scenario and the escalating frustration among the many gamers illustrated simply how difficult holding main sports activities occasions amid a pandemic could be. Even — or maybe particularly — in Australia, which has had fewer than 30,000 circumstances because the pandemic started because it imposes some of the strictest rules of any democratic nation, together with extreme curbing of home journey.

Tennis Australia is spending tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} on particular preparations to fulfill authorities well being laws, however the virus has discovered methods to hobble even the most costly plans that sports activities organizations have provide you with to stay in operation.

Tennis Australia chartered 17 flights from seven nations to convey gamers and assist personnel to the match, limiting capability to 25 p.c on every airplane.

The flight from Abu Dhabi induced essentially the most consternation as a result of it carried gamers who had competed within the first occasion of the yr on the ladies’s tour, amongst them Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, who performed within the closing on Wednesday.

Steve Simon, chief government of the WTA Tour, participated in one of many videoconferences Saturday however the group, which represents gamers and tournaments, has to date deferred to Tennis Australia on the results of the brand new circumstances.

A spokesman for the group mentioned the WTA is “working with Tennis Australia on the challenges at the moment being confronted with a deal with discovering applicable options that assist the numerous efforts and funding which can be being made surrounding the Australian Summer season of Tennis.”

The gamers on the Los Angeles flight included Victoria Azarenka, the 2020 United States Open finalist and a two-time Australian Open champion.

Officers mentioned a flight attendant had examined optimistic on the Los Angeles flight. Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of the Canadian participant Bianca Andreescu, mentioned he had examined optimistic after arriving on the flight from Abu Dhabi.

“I’ve adopted the entire security protocols and procedures, together with testing adverse inside 72 hours earlier than the flight departure and felt completely nice after I boarded the airplane,” Bruneau mentioned in a press release. “I additionally revered and adopted all COVID protocols and tips whereas within the Center East. I do not know how I may need contracted this virus. I’m extraordinarily saddened and sorry for the results now on everybody’s shoulders sharing my flight.”

One other participant, Tennys Sandgren of the US, acquired particular clearance to journey on the Los Angeles flight regardless of a current optimistic check. Well being officers decided he was not infectious as a result of he had confirmed no signs and had beforehand contracted the virus in November. “Some individuals who have recovered from Covid-19 and who’re noninfectious can proceed to shed the virus for a number of months,” the tournament said.

Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium expressed empathy for the gamers who confronted a stricter quarantine due to the brand new infections. “Everybody ought to quarantine for 2 weeks or the Aus Open ought to be pushed again by per week,” Flipkens wrote on Twitter.

A delay would require a big reshuffling of a schedule that has already been fastidiously redesigned, and it could price Tennis Australia considerably extra money to maintain greater than 1,000 individuals who have come to Australia for the competitors in Melbourne for a further week. Tiley and his medical adviser mentioned they have been ready to study extra particulars in regards to the infections.

Ben Rothenberg reported from Washington.

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