Former World No. 1 Andy Murray tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago. Needless to say, that puts his participation at the upcoming Australian Open - which begins in Melbourne on 8 February - in serious doubt.
As per the reports Murray has only experienced minor symptoms so far, and is currently self-isolating. It is not yet confirmed how he contracted the virus, but a minor outbreak was reported at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton last week and Murray was supposedly training there along with several other Brits.
Players from around the world are expected to start arriving in Australia over the next couple of days. Tennis Australia has specially arranged chartered plans from six different cities, which will bring the Australian Open participants into the country - after which they will begin their two-week quarantine.
With his recent positive test, Andy Murray is unlikely to make the trip to Melbourne as part of that arrangement.
According to The Metro, Murray will only travel when it is completely safe to do so. He will also need to receive appropriate approvals from the concerned health and government authorities.
As part of their original announcement, Tennis Australia had stated that all players and their support teams must enter the country only via their chartered flights. And Tennys Sandgren, who had tested positive for the virus in November, was allowed to board one of the chartered flights from Los Angeles.
The Australian Open organziers confirmed that his case had been reviewed by health officials in Victoria and that he had been given permission as a recovered case. But Sandgren's case is a little different from Murray's, given the fact that he was able to get his clearance well in time.
At this point it is unclear whether a different protocol will be followed for players who are unable to board the flights due to a recent positive test. But with no additional chartered flights to be arranged by Tennis Australia, Murray's chances of making it to Melbourne appear quite slim right now.
The Australian Open has also put out a statement on Twitter about the matter, which all but confirms that Murray won't be able to play the Melbourne Slam this year.
The statement says "he will be unable to join the official AO charter flights arriving in Australia in the coming days to go through the quarantine period with the other players." There is no word about whether Andy Murray can join the event at a later date, but the last line - "The AO fans love Andy, and we know how much he loves competing here in Melbourne and how hard he'd worked for this opportunity" - suggests that there is no hope of the Scot making it in time.
Andy Murray is a five-time finalist at the Australian Open
Andy Murray, who had been granted a wildcard into this year's Australian Open, is a five-time finalist at the event but has never won the title.
Two years ago, Andy Murray announced in Melbourne that he was unsure whether he would be able to continue playing due to his hip injuries. He followed that up with a dramatic five-set loss in the first round to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.
Andy Murray then underwent two hip surgeries and was on the sidelines for nearly half a year. But he bounced back in fine fashion, winning the Antwerp Open in October 2019.
A pelvic injury forced him to miss the Australian Open last year though, and he played only four events after the tour resumed in August.
Andy Murray has been ranked No. 1 in the world for a total of 41 weeks. He has won 46 ATP singles titles in his career, including two Wimbledon titles and one US Open title. If he is unable to play the Australian Open this year, it would undoubtedly be a great loss for the spectators in Melbourne.Published 14 Jan 2021, 16:57 IST