'Very upset': Tennis Covid cluster grows ahead of Australian Open

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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  • Denis Shapovalov
    Denis Shapovalov
    Israeli-born Canadian tennis player
  • Andrey Rublev
    Andrey Rublev
    Russian tennis player
Russia's Andrey Rublev has tested positive for the coronavirus as he prepares to travel for the Australian Open. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)
Russia's Andrey Rublev has tested positive for the coronavirus as he prepares to travel for the Australian Open. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

A second Australian Open hopeful has tested positive for the coronavirus in as many days as players prepare for the season opening grand slam.

The day after Canada's Denis Shapovalov returned a positive test after arriving in Sydney, 2021 Australian Open quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev's travel plans have been derailed after he too tested positive.

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The Russian world No.5 is the latest player to have contracted the virus after competing at the recent Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi.

Shapovalov also competed in Abu Dhabi, while Rafael Nadal, Ons Jabeur and Belinda Bencic have also since tested positive after the tournament.

In a statement on Twitter, Rublev said the number of players testing positive was a concern, but added he was feeling only minor symptoms and would re-assess his plans to travel to Australia once he had recovered.

“I want to share some news with you. I am currently in Barcelona and unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19,” Rublev wrote.

“I have minimal symptoms. I am in isolation and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors.

“As you know, I am fully vaccinated and was preparing for tournaments – ATP Cup and Australian Open. Now I have to recover and I will go to Melbourne only when it will be safe for everyone.

“I am very upset and concerned about what is happening. Please, take care of yourself and of the people around you. I will return to the court as soon as possible.”

Rublev had initially been hesitant to be vaccinated against Covid-19, publicly stating that he didn't believe it offered any advantages.

He eventually relented after vaccines were made a prerequisite to compete at the Australian Open, with the 24-year-old acknowledging their usefulness.

“I need to get vaccinated. On the whole, this jab is necessary,” Rublev told Russian media outlet TASS.

“There were so many illnesses and viruses in the past and there is no other way today without a vaccine.”

Denis Shapovalov positive for virus after Australian Open arrival

Canadian tennis player Denis Shapovalov has tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open next month.

One of the first overseas players to arrive in Australia ahead of the Australian Open, Shapovalov was set to take part in the ATP Cup in Sydney as part of Canada's entry.

Quarantine requirements for overseas arrivals have been adjusted in line with improving vaccination rates at home and abroad, with travellers required to provided a negative test from within 72 hours of their departure time before being allowed to board.

Travellers must then return a negative PCR test before they are permitted to leave quarantine.

Taking to Twitter, Shapovalov said he was in good spirits despite feeling some negative symptoms.

Denis Shapovalov has tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open in January. (Photo by Anatoliy Medved/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Denis Shapovalov has tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open in January. (Photo by Anatoliy Medved/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"Hi everyone, just wanted to update you that upon my arrival in Sydney, I tested positive for COVID," Shapovalov tweeted.

"I am following all protocols including isolation and letting the people who I've been in contact with know.

"Right now I am experiencing minor symptoms and look forward to getting back on the court when it safe to do so."

Meanwhile, Serbian daily Blic is reporting that world No.1 Novak Djokovic will not travel to Sydney for ATP Cup.

Djokovic was named in Serbia's team for the ATP Cup, although the 34-year-old has yet to commit to the Australian Open following the COVID-19 vaccination mandate agreed by Tennis Australia and the Victorian Department of Health.

Djokovic has declined to disclose whether he is vaccinated, citing privacy concerns.

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