Australian Open rocked by rising star's shock virus announcement

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Paula Badosa, pictured here ahead of the Australian Open.
Paula Badosa has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Open. Image: Instagram/Getty

Spanish tennis player Paula Badosa has announced she’s tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first Australian Open player to be identified as a positive case.

The 23-year-old has been isolating in a Melbourne hotel under the mandatory 14-day quarantine rule after arriving on a tournament-chartered flight from Abu Dhabi on which two co-passengers also subsequently tested positive.

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Badosa announced on social media on Thursday that she had been feeling unwell and had been moved to another “health hotel” to recuperate.

The World No.67 wrote on Twitter: “I have some bad news. Today, I received a positive Covid-19 test result.

“I'm feeling unwell and have some symptoms, but I'll try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors.

“I have been taken to a health hotel to self-isolate and be monitored. Thanks for your support. We'll be back stronger. Paula.”

Badosa is the first female player on the tournament’s roster to have a confirmed positive test, the latest setback for preparations for the year’s first grand slam in Melbourne.

Paula Badosa had complained about conditions

A string of infections detected by Australian authorities have forced dozens of players to be confined to their hotel rooms for two weeks.

More than 1000 players and staff arrived in largely coronavirus-free Australia on 17 charter planes last week, with the first cases detected on those flights.

Several previously announced positive cases have been reclassified as non-infectious.

But the entire contingent is spending 14 days in hotel quarantine, with players not considered close contacts of positive cases allowed outside to train for up to five hours a day in a biosecurity bubble.

The conditions have prompted complaints from several tennis stars, including Badosa.

Paula Badosa, pictured here in action against Petra Kvitova at the 2020 Australian Open.
Paula Badosa in action against Petra Kvitova at the 2020 Australian Open. (Photo by GREG WOOD/AFP via Getty Images)

“At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane,” she wrote in a since-deleted tweet last weekend.

“Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air.”

She has precious little time to recover and to be fit for the Australian Open after looking forward to making it the starting point for another rise up the rankings in 2021.

Badosa had ended 2020 by making huge strides, reaching the last-16 at the French Open and reaching a career-high ranking.

She is due to compete in her third Australian Open, having reached the second round last year before being knocked out by Petra Kvitova.

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