Tennis

Andy Murray doubtful for Australian Open return

The three-time Grand Slam champion is now isolating after a positive coronavirus test days before he was to depart for Australia.

By Evelyn Watta ·

Double Olympic champion Andy Murray’s participation in next month’s Australian Open is in doubt following a positive coronavirus test.

The Scot, a wild-card entry into the first Grand Slam of the year, tested positive days before his flight to Melbourne but is in good health as he isolates at home.

Murray still hopes to travel before the tournament scheduled from 8–21 February.

“Unfortunately this means he will be unable to join the official AO (Australian Open) charter flights arriving in Australia in the coming days to go through the quarantine period with the other players," the tournament organisers said in a statement.

"The AO fans love Andy, and we know how much he loves competing here in Melbourne and how hard he'd worked for this opportunity."

The organisers have put in place strict rules to control the spread of the virus for players, coaches, media and other officials arriving in the country.

After returning a negative test prior to boarding their flights, players are subjected to daily virus tests on arrival during the 14-day quarantine period in a strict bubble setup manned by police.

Murray has not played at the Open since 2019 where he announced that he could possibly retire from professional tennis due to a hip injury.

The five-time Australian Open runner-up played only seven matches in 2020 because of a pelvic injury and had hoped to kickstart his Olympic season on a high.

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There is a possibility that three-time Grand Slam champion could still fly out later, but he will certainly miss the warmup matches.

Several players including women’s world No 16. Madison Keys, have been forced to withdraw from the event due to positive virus tests.

"I'm very disappointed to not be able to play in the coming weeks after training hard in the off-season and knowing Tennis Australia and the tours did so much to make these events happen," Keys posted on Twitter.

Another American Tennys Sandgren returned a positive just before his flight but was granted 'special permission' and cleared to fly by Australian authorities.

He first tested positive in November and again on Monday (January 11).