Tennys Sandgren has thanked Australian Open officials after he was given permission to board a flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne this morning, despite testing positive for Covid-19 on Monday.
The American world number 50 was on a chartered plane which was also carrying 14 other players and coaching staff ahead of the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, which starts on February 8.
Sandgren returned a positive Covid-19 test on Monday and has the virus for the second time, having also confirmed a case in November.
A quarter-finalist last year, Sandgren said in a tweet that tournament director Craig Tiley “is a wizard” for getting him on a plane.
A spokesperson for Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria said it was common among people who had previously tested positive to “shed viral fragments for some time - which can often trigger another positive result”, meaning it’s possible the new test is a ‘false positive’ - though that’s not been confirmed.
Tennis Australia said in a statement that the decision to allow Sandgren to fly to Australia, which has strict quarantine procedures in place for overseas travellers, was made after his case file was reviewed by health authorities in Victoria, who then granted “special clearance” to travel.
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Sandgren's travel exemption comes on the same day Andy Murray tested positive for coronavirus.
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All players and their teams will have to be tested every day when they arrive in Melbourne, and stay in quarantine in one of three allocated hotels for 14 days.