Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has confirmed the year’s first Grand Slam will go ahead from February 8 despite anger from players forced into hard quarantine in Melbourne due to positive Covid-19 cases on their charter planes.
Other players who arrived in different planes are also undertaking a mandatory 14-day quarantine but are permitted to leave their hotels for five hours a day to train.
Tiley said the tournament would start as scheduled but governing body Tennis Australia would look at altering the lead-up tournaments to help the affected players.
“We are reviewing the schedule leading in to see what we can do to assist these players,” Tiley told the Nine Network on Sunday.
“The Australian Open is going ahead and we will continue to do the best we possibly can do to ensure those players have the best opportunity.”
Quarantine authorities said they had recorded a fourth Covid-19 infection among the passengers on the two charter flights carrying players to Melbourne.
A broadcaster on the flight from Los Angeles had tested positive, adding to an aircrew member and a tennis coach on the same plane who were reported on Saturday.
The other case was Sylvain Bruneau, the coach of the women’s 2019 U.S. Open champion – Canada’s Bianca Andreescu.
Bruneau was a passenger on a charter flight carrying 23 players from Abu Dhabi. Some of the affected players complained about their detention, saying they had not been adequately advised.
Covid-19 quarantine Victoria boss Emma Cassar said authorities had provided consistent advice.
“The rules for close contacts haven’t changed,” she told reporters in Melbourne on Sunday.
“The program is set up to keep people safe.”
Cassar also warned players to stick to quarantine rules and threatened them with A$20,000 (£11,314) fines and having them moved to an even stricter facility after two players made low-level breaches.
She said two players had opened their hotel room doors to talk to others, including one who was congratulating himself for arranging food by Uber Eats.
“So they’ve been warned and Victoria police will continue to follow up,” she added.