Eurosport Russia have exclusively spoken to the CEO of the St Petersburg Open after Sam Querrey fled the tournament hotel and the country along with his family.
Querrey left Russia on a private jet after testing positive for Covid-19, according to tournament organisers. The American was a late withdrawal from the event after he tested positive, along with his wife and baby son.
The tournament organisers, Formula TX, said the 33-year-old was "isolated in a Four Seasons hotel room". However, when they arranged for a doctor to visit Querrey they were apparently unable to gain entry to the room and the family then left the hotel the next day without informing reception.
"As Querrey told the ATP representative, he flew out of Russia on a private jet,” organisers Formula TX said in a statement.
- Querrey leaves Russia on private jet after positive Covid-19 test
- Querrey out of St Petersburg Open after testing positive for Coronavirus
In an exclusive interview with Eurosport Russia, the CEO of the tournament, Alexander Medvedev, gave his assessment of the events and emphasised that the organising committee followed all the ATP rules for competitions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Firstly, I would like to wish good health to Sam Querrey and his family," Medvedev said. "I hope they have a mild form of infection.
"Also, I wish good health to everyone who has been in contact with them during this runaway – there were airport workers, border guards, private jet pilots, flight attendants. Hopefully, he was careful."
Poetry in motion from the King of Clay: Watch Rafael Nadal's Top 5 points from French Open win
Do you understand why Querrey left Russia in this way?
"I don’t understand why he decided to do it. For some reason, he thought he would be admitted to the hospital and separated from his son. Why did he think this?
"We had already prepared an apartment in the centre of St Petersburg for them. They could have lived there comfortably. If it was necessary, we could have organised the care of doctors.
"They were even offered a paediatrician for the child, but he preferred to go with his plan. Although the family could have stayed in St Petersburg as long as was needed."
Was there a ‘bubble’ for the players like in the NBA?
"We strictly followed the ATP’s rules and recommendations and the Russian authority [Rospotrebnadzor] for mass events. Players are staying at the Four Seasons Hotel and they are having meals at the same place.
"A ‘bubble’ has been organised so the athletes cannot leave the hotel, although the weather in St Petersburg is excellent and you can go for a walk.
"But the players understand everything and have been following the recommendations. According to my information, Querrey conducted training sessions on the 9th and 10th of October. But I don’t know what he did before and after training."
Do you know how ATP bosses have reacted?
"The ATP are unhappy with Querrey’s decision, but it is business between Querrey and the ATP. I hope this story will have a happy ending: everyone will stay healthy and Sam will not face a serious punishment.
"Our restrictions are not the most stringent. For example, in Australia the organisers plan a two-week quarantine for tennis players before arriving at the Australian Open.
"The ATP has no complaints for the St Petersburg Open. They admit that we followed the rules."