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By Tennis Now | Saturday, January 16, 2021

Australian Open Court

Three people traveling on Australian Open charter flights tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Australia. Now, 47 players are in strict quarantine ahead of the AO.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Coronavirus has struck ahead of the Australian Open leaving some players face 14-day confinement in their rooms.

Three people traveling on Australian Open charter flights tested positive for Coronavirus upon arrival in Australia. As a result, 47 players are confined to a strict quarantine in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open.

More: Get To Know AO Qualifiers

The Australian Open is set to start on February 8th. Players, coaches and officials were required to board private flights chartered by the tournament to fly to Australia.

The three cases of COVID-19 were detected among two flights—one flight from Abu Dhabi and the other from Los Angeles—and now 47 players who were on those flights will serve a strict 14-day quarantine in their hotel rooms. They won't be able to leave their hotel rooms even to practice or train.

Former AO champion Victoria Azarenka, Kei Nishikori, Sloane Stepens and Heather Watson are reportedly among the players who were on those flights and now serving quarantine.

''An aircrew member and Australian Open participant who is not a player have been transferred to a health hotel following positive test results for coronavirus (COVID-19),'' Victoria state's health department said in a statement about the cases from the L.A. flight. ''All remaining 66 passengers on the flight have been determined to be close contacts.

"Any players and support people will not be able to leave quarantine to attend training. The remaining flight crew all tested negative and were permitted to fly out without passengers directly to their home port.''

Two of the cases came from the Los Angeles flight; the third Coronavirus case emanated from the later Abu Dhabi flight.

''We are communicating with everyone on this flight, and particularly the playing group whose conditions have now changed, to ensure their needs are being catered to as much as possible, and that they are fully appraised of the situation,'' Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.

Heather Watson was on board the flight from Abu Dhabi and confirmed she's one of the players confined to her room by quarantine.


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