Tennis Australia have seemingly disputed a statement from Victorian health officials that two players preparing for the Australian Open have tested positive for Covid-19.
With 72 players already in quarantine due to positive tests on flights into Melbourne, Victoria officials released a statement saying a female in her 20s and two males in their 30s had also tested positive, with two players amongst the group.
Victoria chief health officer Brett Sutton said all three were in hotel quarantine.
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However, Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley was asked during a press conference if any of the positive cases included players and said “no”.
“Of those six [cases in the Australian Open contingent], plus one – which was the flight attendant – none of them are players. (It's) player entourages.
“There have been some players on the viral shedding list. Again, I’ll have to leave it to Quarantine Victoria to give those numbers. They're not big numbers. It's a few. As far as [players] testing positive and going to the medi-hotel – no, none."
People in hotel quarantine are moved to a medi-hotel if they test positive for Covid-19.
In his statement, Professor Sutton also seemed to reject suggestions that some players might have their strict quarantine periods shortened after some positive cases were recategorised as viral shedding.
“While two cases of viral shedding were confirmed yesterday, this does not change [the] broader assessment of the player group in hotel quarantine," he said in a statement.
“As yet, none of the three affected flights have been cleared as a result of the two reclassified cases.”
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Roberto Bautista Agut has apologised after comparing being locked down in a hotel to spending time in prison.
The world No 13 said: "I want to apologise to everyone who has been offended by the video that was posted about me recently. It is a private conversation taken out of context that has unfortunately been released to the media without my knowledge or consent."
The Australian Open is set to start on February 8, with warm-up events starting at the end of January.
AZARENKA: ADAPT AND KEEP MOVING!
Organisers found support from former world number one Victoria Azarenka, who urged her fellow players to "accept and adapt" to the health regulations in Melbourne and show empathy towards the local community.
In an open letter, two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka said players and coaches must respect the health protocols put in place by the state government.
"To be in a 14-day quarantine is very tough to accept in terms of all the work that everyone has been putting in during their off-season - to be prepared for playing our first Grand Slam of the year," the Belarussian said in a post on Twitter.
"I understand all the frustration and feeling of unfairness that has been coming and it is overwhelming.
"Sometimes things happen and we need to accept, adapt and keep moving!"
With Australia's hardline border controls keeping daily numbers of new coronavirus cases at zero or low single digits, Azarenka said the players must do everything to support the local community.
"I would like to ask all of us to respect people who work tirelessly to try and make our lives easier," she added.
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