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Fri, 15 Jan, 2021

US tennis star bound for Melbourne despite positive COVID test

US tennis star bound for Melbourne despite positive COVID test

US tennis star Tennys Sandgren has been given a special exemption to fly from Los Angels to Melbourne, despite testing positive for coronavirus this week.

The world number 50 revealed the news through a bizarre series of tweets where he explained he had been eventually allowed to board a flight filled with other players and officials as they head down under for the Australian Open.

On Thursday morning (Australian time) Sandgren told loyal followers that he had tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, and was expected to miss the Australian Open flight.

It was his second time testing positive after his first diagnosis in November 2020.

However just one hour later the 29-year-old tweeted, “Update: maybe I can fly tmrw”.

The decision to allow him to fly is apparently all thanks to Tennis Australia boss and Aussie Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

“Wait hold on I think they are trying to get me on 15 min after the plane was supposed to depart.. my bags still aren’t checked lol,” he wrote.

“Wow I’m on the plane. Maybe I just held my breath too long.

“Craig Tiley is a wizard.”

Given the strict restrictions around international travel, many were confused as to how Sandgren was allowed to travel, let alone with hundreds of others on a flight to Melbourne.

A Tennis Australia spokesperson attempted to clear up confusion, telling 7NEWS the star is non-infectious as he his test was a ‘weak positive’ and was no longer alive in his body.

“Some people who have recovered from COVID-19 and who are non-infectious can continue to shed the virus for several months,” the spokesperson said.

“Vic government public health experts assess each case based on additional detailed medical records to ensure they are not infectious before checking in to the charter flights.

“Players and their teams are tested every day from their arrival in Australia, a much stricter process than for anyone else in hotel quarantine.”

After copping serious heat for his tweets, the tennis star took to social media to explain his words.

“A lot (of) couch virologists out there. My two tests were less than 8 weeks a part,” Sandgren wrote.

“I was sick in November, totally healthy now. There’s not a single documented case where I would be contagious at this point. Totally recovered!”

About 1200 players, officials and support staff will be landing in Melbourne on 15 charter flights that will arrive from Thursday evening (AEDT).

All who travelled will go into quarantine in three Melbourne hotels - the Grand Hyatt, Pullman Albert Park and View Melbourne.

They will quarantine for two weeks before the Australian Open begins on February 8.

Players will be allowed to leave their hotel rooms for up to five hours a day for training and treatment, in order to reduce the risk of injury.

Players will be overseen by COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria staff in a secure training facility.