All tennis matches scheduled for Thursday in Melbourne were postponed after a hotel worker tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Up to 600 players, staff and coaches are currently isolated after being considered close contacts.
The organizers of the various events leading up to the Australian Open are planning to reschedule the matches for Friday onwards.
Here is everything we currently know about the situation.
COVID OUTBREAK AT THE MELBOURNE HOTEL: WHAT HAPPENED?
A 26-year-old man working as a resident support officer in the Australian Open hotel quarantine tested positive for COVID-19.
The man was working at the Grand Hyatt hotel. He tested negative after his last shift on January 29, but subsequently tested positive for COVID.
As a result, the Victorian government has reintroduced mandatory mask rules and limited the number of visitors allowed into homes.
IS THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN STILL FOLLOWING?
At this stage, yes.
Although there are disruptions to previous events, Andrews has emphasized that officials have only discovered one positive COVID test.
The prime minister said quick actions on Wednesday night are designed to stop an even bigger outbreak.
With that in mind, the Australian Open still takes place on Monday.
“At this stage, there is no impact on the (Australian Open) tournament proper,” Andrews said.
“We have a case. We are going to work very hard to keep the numbers as low as possible. Decisions have been made and we will proceed as we can.”
On Thursday morning Andrews added: “We all understand that there are no guarantees on any of this, but at this time, the tournament should not be affected by this.
“These things can change.”
ARE TENNIS PLAYERS IMPACTED BY THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK IN MELBOURNE?
Up to 600 players and support staff who stayed at the Grand Hyatt between January 16 and January 29 have been considered close contacts.
Everyone should isolate themselves until they test negative for COVID-19.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR AUSTRALIA’S LEADING OPEN EVENTS?
All tennis has been canceled for Thursday, leaving the ATP Cup, three WTA events (Yarra Valley Classic, Gippsland Trophy and Grampians Trophy) and two other ATP events (Great Ocean Road Open and Murray River Open) in disarray.
Organizers of the Australian Open confirmed the outages overnight.
“The health authorities informed us that a hotel quarantine worker tested positive for COVID-19,” said a statement.
“Those associated with OC who were quarantined at the hotel now need to be screened and isolated until they receive a negative result.
“We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible.
“There will be no games at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update to Friday’s schedule will be announced later today.”
Victorian Premier Dan Andrews also confirmed that up to 600 tennis-related people have been affected.
“There are a number of, about 500 or 600 people, who are players and officials and others who are casual contacts,” Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said Wednesday.
“They will be isolating until they get a negative test. And that work will be done tomorrow (Thursday).
ARE ALL THE MELBOURNE TENNIS PLAYERS IMPACTED?
Not all of the players currently in Melbourne have been considered close contacts.
Although previous tournaments have been postponed, players who have not been quarantined can practice at Melbourne Park on Thursday.
Tournament organizers will reschedule Thursday’s matches and have an updated plan later today.
TENNIS PLAYERS REFUSED TO THE DAN ANDREWS PREMIER ARE RECEIVING PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT
With 500-600 people in isolation, Andrews was forced to deny that tennis players are receiving preferential treatment during the current outbreak.
“People are not being treated differently,” he said at a news conference Thursday morning.
“I was presented with a list of demands from various tennis players and the answer was no. I think I have shown well and truly that they do not receive special treatment.”
“The ranking of people as to their risk, and therefore the public health response, the things that they have to do, are not judgments made by me, they are judgments made by public health experts.”
There was some confusion Wednesday night when it first became known about Thursday’s tennis closing.
As usual, social media was where players posted their thoughts.
Jim Courier gave a decent analysis on what was happening in Melbourne.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.