Andy Murray tests positive for COVID-19, Australian Open participation in doubt
When Andy Murray first retired from tennis due to hip injuries, it was seen as a dark day for sport in the United Kingdom. Comfortably the most talented tennis player to come off the isles in years, he was seen as the perfect step forward for the sport. A young, aggressive, physically conditioned star with the technical and tactical nous to make a big impact on the game. And impact it, he did.
However, after several Grand Slam wins and many more highlights, Murray reached a point where his hip was in such poor condition he had to retire.
Showing the usual warrior spirit that had propelled his career to the highest of positions, though, Murray fought back and came back to the game. However, after scrapping to get into position to take part in the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the calendar, it looks like the 33-year-old might miss out after all. He has been announced as being COVID-19 positive, meaning that he likely will not recover in time for the beginning of the tournament.
Set to fly out to Melbourne in the near future, his flight is now cancelled and he looks set to stay at home in his London property.
Despite being noted to be in good health and high spirits in the fact of the situation, the hope is that he could still compete as planned. With five runner-up medals in the Grand Slam event itself, the hope was that Murray could complete a dream comeback and lift the trophy for the first time. However, he has pulled out of recent ATP events in Delray Beach as he wanted to minimise the risk of contracting the virus, it seems the worst case scenario has happened.
What happens now?
Nobody is really sure, in truth. The event itself starts on the 8th February, so there is still some time to come up with a solution that works for everyone. However, players will be required to test negative to the virus before taking part in one of the fifteen charter flights arranged for the players. This, though, will need them to pass a range of COVDI-19 tests once arriving, and sit through a 14-day quarantine period.
Given the date of positive infection, it might be hard for Murray to be able to make the cut-off point and get to Australia and quarantine in good time. The State Health Minister of Victoria, where the tournament will be held, Martin Foley, said: “Mr Murray, and the other 1,240 people as part of the program, need to demonstrate that if they’re coming to Melbourne, they have returned a negative test,
“So should Mr Murray arrive, and I have no indication that he will, he will be subject to those same rigorous arrangements as everyone else. Should he test positive prior to his attempts to come to Australia, he will be refused.”
At the moment, then, everything is up in the air. With a tournament set to start-up in just a few weeks, we might be missing one of the most interesting names on the event list this year.