American tennis player Tennys Sandgren has been allowed on a chartered flight to Melbourne for the Australian Open, despite recently testing positive for coronavirus.
Sandgren tested positive to COVID-19 on Monday, after originally testing positive in late November, and was initially barred from the flight containing international players out of Los Angeles.
However, the world No.50 was then allowed to join the delayed flight, calling Australian Open boss Craig Tiley a “wizard”.
Sandgren, 29, tweeted he wasn’t contagious.
“My two tests were less than 8 weeks apart. I was sick in November, totally healthy now.
“There’s not a single documented case where I would be contagious at this point. Totally recovered!,” Sandgren said.
A quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park in 2018 and 2020, Sandgren was supported by Tennis Australia, who said they followed Victorian government guidelines in allowing him onto the flight.
“Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 and who are non-infectious can continue to shed the virus for several months,” TA tweeted.
“Victorian Government public health experts assess each case based on additional detailed medical records to ensure they are not infectious before checking in to the charter flights.”
TA said Sandgren, like all of the 1200-strong international contingent, would be tested every day at their three hotels during the 14-day quarantine period.
The first players arrive in Melbourne on Thursday night, while mega-stars including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem are on a separate charter that will fly direct to Adelaide.
They will quarantine in a hotel there before an exhibition event at Memorial Drive on January 29 in the South Australian capital, featuring eight of the world’s top players.
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is still to be confirmed as a starter, with her management telling AAP she is “hoping to participate”.
Halep’s Australian coach Darren Cahill tweeted he had undergone COVID-19 testing and was set to join the world No.2 in hotel quarantine, with each player allowed one support person.