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Australian Open: More players to quarantine after another positive Covid test on Melbourne flight

Bernard Tomic in a hotel room with a tennis racquet
Australia’s Bernard Tomic is one of several players to have been seen exercising in their hotel room

More Australian Open players will be confined to their hotel rooms after a positive coronavirus test result on a third flight bound for the tournament.

Everyone on board the flight from Doha, which arrived in Melbourne on Saturday, must isolate in their room for 14 days.

It is not yet clear how many players have been affected, but the flight is thought to largely contain qualifiers.

Britain’s Heather Watson is one of 47 players already quarantining and some are frustrated by the confinement.

At least three players said they might not have gone to the tournament if the rules had been made clear to them.

Organisers said the rules were clear, and the event would begin as planned on 8 February.

Three other people tested positive for Covid on Saturday and one on Sunday. They had been on two chartered flights bringing players to the tournament.

France’s Alexandre Muller, one of six qualifying lucky losers travelling as a reserve should anyone drop out of the main draw, tweeted the message he received to inform him he had to isolate.

Two-time winner Victoria Azarenka, 2016 champion Angelique Kerber, former US Open champion Sloane Stephens and Japan’s former world number four Kei Nishikori are among those affected.

Emma Cassar, quarantine commissioner for the state of Victoria, said people in the hotels – including one player – were breaching lockdown rules by opening their doors to communicate with others on their floor.

All players taking part in the competition had to test negative before boarding flights and were then placed in designated Australian Open quarantine hotels in Melbourne and Adelaide.

Those who have not been confined to their rooms because of positive tests on their flights are allowed out for up to five hours a day to practise on court.

The first Grand Slam of the year had already been hit by the withdrawal of injured Roger Federer, while three-time major winner Andy Murray tested positive for the virus before departure so did not fly to Australia.

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Article courtesy of BBC Sport
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