A Spanish tennis player who was among many Australian Open competitors to complain about quarantine rules has revealed she has coronavirus.
Paula Badosa said she had felt unwell with symptoms before testing positive for the virus in Melbourne on Thursday. Badosa is believed to be the fourth competitor to test positive in hotel quarantine, but is the first to identify herself publicly. On Friday, she said “sorry guys”, adding quarantine rules were “pivotal”. “Please, don’t get me wrong. Health will always comes first & I feel grateful for being in Australia,” tweeted Badosa, who is ranked 67th globally in singles, the 23-year-old said she had been taken to a separate hotel in Melbourne to “self-isolate and be monitored”. “I’ll try to recover as soon as possible listening to the doctors,” she said.
Victoria state health authorities said on Wednesday a total of 10 infections had been linked to the event, but a few were “viral shedding” cases where the person was not infectious. Melbourne endured one of the world’s longest lockdowns last year and many locals have concerns about the potential Covid-19 risk posed by the tournament. Tennis Australia chartered 15 flights to bring players and their entourages into the country, but three flights had passengers who later tested positive for the virus. Badosa is one of 72 players who have been confined full-time to their hotel rooms for 14 days – under a state health order – after the infections were discovered. She has already spent seven days in isolation.
Players who arrived on flights with no infections are also in quarantine but are allowed five hours of court practice a day, several players have complained about the impacts to their tennis preparation. Earlier this week, in a tweet reported by Australian media that has since been deleted, Badosa wrote: “At the beginning the rule was the positive section of the plane who was with that person had to quarantine. Not the whole plane”. “Not fair to change the rules at the last moment. And to have to stay in a room with no windows and no air.” But Tennis Australia and state officials have rejected assertions that any rules were changed or not clear ahead of time. “We’re thinking of you Paula, and hoping you feel better soon,” the Australian Open’s Twitter account replied in a message to Badosa on Friday. Organisers have said that despite the infections, the Grand Slam will go ahead on 8 February.