Nick Kyrgios has issued a timely reminder about the importance of putting safety first when it comes to the Australian Open.
Preparations for the first grand slam of the year were thrown into chaos on Wednesday night when it was revealed a man who works at one of the tennis quarantine hotels in Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19.
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Warmup events at Melbourne Park have since been put on hold, with around 600 players and officials required to isolate until the register a negative result.
The lead-up to the Australian Open had already been thrown into turmoil when four positive coronavirus cases were detected from charter flights carrying players, coaches and officials to Melbourne almost three weeks ago.
Some 47 players were forced into hard quarantine for two weeks with things going relatively smoothly until this latest positive test.
While there’d been complaints from some players about the conditions and enforced quarantine, Kyrgios was having none of it.
Before the latest virus announcement from Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday, Kyrgios said there’d be no complaints from him if he was forced into a two-week lockdown somewhere else this year.
“It's not about me. My mum is incredibly sick,” Kyrgios said after his win at the Murray River Open.
“There's too much risk in all of this. I don't understand what's so hard for tennis players to understand.
“Like, you're just a tennis player. Do you know what I mean? It's not life and death like this is.”
Australian Open players ‘low risk’ of infection
On Thursday, Victoria's Deputy Chief Health Officer said the Australian Open is unlikely to be cancelled despite renewed backlash.
Deputy Chief Health Officer Professor Allen Cheng said the risk to players and their support staff was low.
The hotel worker, who was on the same floor at the Grand Hyatt as infected guests, worked his last shift on Friday, returning a positive result on Wednesday.
“I think it's unlikely but we have asked for testing of all of the players and other people who have been in that hotel,” Cheng said on Thursday morning.
“We think the risk to other guests at the hotel, so tennis players and their accompanying staff, is relatively low because they were in the rooms at the time as opposed to staff who were outside the rooms.
“That said, the last case to leave the hotel for the health hotel left on the 22nd so we're now getting on to close to 14 days since that time.
“So we think that risk is relatively low so we're testing them to be sure, and it's precautionary.”
Cheng said it was “unlikely” the Open will be cancelled, but Premier Andrews warned it was an unfolding situation.
“The tournament proper should not be affected by this, (but) these things can change,” the Premier said.
Australia’s Matt Ebden posted a photo to social media saying he’d had the test early on Thursday and was awaiting results before the scheduled start of the year's first grand slam on February 8.
The worker’s two family members who he lives with have not tested positive at this stage.
✔ Covid test done, now isolate until negative test result 🤐🙌 @SevenFriday @SEVENFRIDAYaus#melbourne #australia #atptour #ausopen #AO21 #tennis #covid #covid19 #watch #watches #sevenfriday pic.twitter.com/t9DVXktcyj
— Matt Ebden (@mattebden) February 3, 2021
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