Australian Open will go ahead as tennis players test negative to Covid

Australian Open WILL go ahead as ‘nearly’ every single tennis player tests negative to Covid-19 – as Victoria records zero new cases despite quarantine chaos

  • Australian Open thrown into chaos with players and officials forced to isolate
  • From 507 coronavirus tests, all have come back negative with 12 tests pending
  • Tournament will ahead as planned from Monday with crowd in attendance
  • Victoria records no new local cases after quarantine hotel worker tested positive
  • Health authorities confirmed infected worker has highly contagious UK strain

The Australian Open will begin in Melbourne on Monday as planned, despite confirmation that an infected quarantine hotel worker has the highly contagious UK strain of coronavirus.

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley announced on Friday morning that the results are back for almost all of the 507 players and officials tested for coronavirus on Thursday.

Everyone has tested negative so far with just 12 results pending from those tested late on Thursday night.

‘Hopefully we’ll get the positive outcome in the next few hours that all tests are negative,’ Tiley told Melbourne radio station 3AW. 

‘It hasn’t been an easy exercise but we’re very pleased with the outcome so far.’ 

The news comes as Victoria reported zero new locally acquired cases on Friday, despite 14,612 tests in the last 24 hours.

Victorian health officials confirmed the infected staffer, called a ‘model’ employee who did not breach any health protocol, has the highly contagious UK strain of the virus. 

Test results are back for almost all of the 507 Australian Open players and officials tested for coronavirus (pictured, Croatian player Donna Vekic waiting to be tested on Thursday)

Tiley said the grand slam would go ahead as planned from Monday and there has been no change to crowd arrangements, initially capped at between 25,000 to 30,000 each day.

Crowds are permitted to attend warm-up matches at Melbourne Park, which will resume on Friday.

‘Our position hasn’t changed,’ Tiley said.

‘Spectators will continue to be allowed in the site, and we are still selling tickets.

‘We’ll have health checks and contract tracing in place. Areas are divided up into zones with physical distancing to be enforced.’

‘The site will be an extremely safe place.’

The tennis Grand Slam was thrown into chaos on Wednesday night after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive to what’s since been confirmed as the highly contagious UK strain of the virus.

Around 520 tennis stars, officials and support staff were identified as casual contacts of the 26-year-old man who worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel.

The positive case ended Victoria’s 28-day streak of zero community transmissions.

Sixteen close contacts of the man have returned negative results with another test result pending. 

Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley (pictured on Thursday) says there’s no change  to its position on crowds at the Australian  Open

News of the new case forced the suspension of warm-up matches scheduled to be played on Thursday.

Melbourne Park lead-up matches will resume on Friday. 

Tiley remains hopeful of a crowd of up to 390,000 throughout the course of the Australian Open over the two weeks.

‘If we achieve that, it will be a very proud moment,’ he told 3AW.’ 

The Australian Open will go ahead as planned and will welcome tennis crowds capped at 50 per cent capacity. Pictured is a packed Rod Laver Arena at the 2020 Australian Open

Tennis great and former Australian Open finalist Lleyton Hewitt doesn’t believe the latest setback will affect players ahead of the tournament.

‘For them to freshen up for a day probably wasn’t the worst thing because it was really the only players put in that position yesterday were the ones staying in that particular hotel where the one case came from,’ he told the Today show on Friday.

‘The rest of them were out there actually practicing and striking a few yesterday, trying to fine tune. 

‘The tough part now is to try to get all the matches in over the next three days before the Australian Open starts.’

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