Tennis officials are breathing a sigh of relief after Tennis Australia confirmed all 507 players and staff tested for COVID-19 on Thursday returned negative results.
The Australian Open tweeted on Friday afternoon: “All tests conducted on AO quarantine participants yesterday have returned negative results.”
Earlier on Friday, Australian Open boss Craig Tiley told Melbourne radio station 3AW that they were awaiting 12 more results from the 507 tested.
All play at Melbourne Park on Thursday was cancelled after news emerged on Wednesday night that a residential support worker – who had worked at the Grand Hyatt hotel where arriving players completed mandatory quarantine after arriving in Australia – had tested positive to coronavirus.
“So far everyone is negative. We have a few pending, the pending ones are just a result of them being tested late last night,” he said.
Tennis officials face a battle to complete the schedule for six different men’s and women’s tournaments over the next three days before the Open begins on Monday. The Australian Open draw was also delayed until Friday afternoon.
Tiley on Thursday pledged that organisers were going “full steam ahead” with the grand slam, after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said he expected the tournament wouldn’t be cancelled despite the new local positive case of COVID-19 connected to the hotel quarantine site.
He said crowds would still be allowed into Melbourne Park from today as planned.
“Spectators will continue to be allowed in the site, and we are still selling tickets,” he said.
“The site will be an extremely safe place.There’s a health check coming in, there’s contact tracing set up and it is divided into zones, physical distancing.”
The Victorian Health Department has allowed Melbourne Park to be at 50 per cent capacity from this week. Tiley said that meant about 380,000 spectators would attend the Australian Open over the two-week tournament.
Tiley said only 10 of the 1200 players and staff who travelled to Australia for the tennis and to complete quarantine tested positive.
It is still not clear how the hotel worker got the virus, Tiley said.
Victoria recorded zero new cases of coronavirus on Friday.
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