Sam Querrey has been handed a suspended fine of $20,000 and been put on a six-month probation for breaching the COVID-19 protocols at the 2020 St. Petersburg Open. The sentence was announced in a statement by the ATP on Wednesday.
Sam Querrey, his wife and his son had all tested positive for COVID-19 at the ATP St. Petersburg Open in October. But after initially being confined to his room, the American player and his family escaped and fled the country in a private plane. That was a serious breach of the designated health protocols that were in place, and caused plenty of embarrassment to both ATP and the tournament organizers.
The ATP immediately launched an investigation into the matter, which was concluded earlier this week. Their findings declared "Querrey’s conduct to be contrary to the integrity of the game under the Player Major Offense provision in the ATP Code of Conduct".
However, the officials took the 33-year-old's previous good record of conduct into account, and suspended the fine. Querrey will not be required to pay the penalty as long as he commits "no further breaches of health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 within a probationary six-month period".
The former World No. 11 has a five-day window to appeal the decision, if he wishes to. Querrey has not made any official comment on the issue as of yet.
Sam Querrey's escape from St. Petersburg is still shrouded in mystery
The 33-year-old Sam Querrey, a former Wimbledon semifinalist, has yet to issue a public statement or interact with the media since the incident. But while the exact story from his side remains to be heard, there have been a few facts that can be confirmed based on a statement released by Formula TX, the company that organised the ATP event.
As per their statement, Sam Querrey, his wife and their eight-month-old son tested positive on 11 October, which was then confirmed by a second test. After being withdrawn from the tournament, Querrey and his family were isolated in his room at the Four Seasons hotel.
They were supposed to be transferred from the hotel to private apartments for self-isolation, in order to avoid any threat of spreading the virus.
But Sam Querrey and his family left the hotel on the morning of 13 October without informing anyone, as shown by the hotel security cameras. The American player later informed the ATP representative that he had flown out of Russia on a private jet, upon which the officials launched an investigation into the matter.
Querrey's whereabouts were a matter of intense speculation in the immediate aftermath of his escape, with the common consensus being he had taken refuge in an unidentified European country. Many claimed he had fled Russia out of fear, given the country's history of questionable human rights practices.
Querrey is now scheduled to make his return at the Delray Beach Open, an event he had won in 2017. The escape from St. Petersburg will certainly come up in his interactions with the media there, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the questions.Published 31 Dec 2020, 19:26 IST