Australian Open to allow COVID-positive players to compete

The 2023 Australian Open will permit players to participate in the tournament even if they have tested positive for COVID-19, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.

Australian Open to allow COVID-positive players to compete
Craig Tilley / ABC
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The 2023 Australian Open will allow players to compete even if they are COVID-positive, according to tournament director Craig Tiley.

In a stunning backflip, Tiley revealed that players will not be required to undergo mandatory COVID testing and will only be encouraged to stay home if they are feeling unwell.

"We've made it clear to our players, as well as our over 12,000 staff. We ask...if anyone is feeling unwell, stay home," Tiley said.

"It's a normalised environment for us and, not dissimilar to cricket, there will potentially be players that will compete with COVID."

Tiley added that players will not even have to reveal a positive test if they do not want to.

"We just wanted to follow what's currently in the community," Tiley said. "We have gone a step further by making a recommendation around staying away when you're ill, and that our medical staff, Dr Karen Holzer is the best in the business, she will continue to monitor that, with the players individually as well."

These rules are a significant departure from the previous Australian Open tournaments, including last year's event, when Serbian champion Novak Djokovic was deported for not having a COVID vaccination.

There have also been reports that Italian player Camila Giorgi may have submitted a false vaccination certificate to enter Australia for the 2022 Australian Open, which could result in her deportation.

However, Australian player Alex de Minaur, currently ranked 24th in the world, supports the changes allowing players to compete while COVID-positive.

"I think we, as players and as human beings, we've kind of gone through a very tough situation throughout a couple years," de Minaur said.

"I think we're all excited to be back competing, moving around freely, enjoying life as it used to be. We're just happy to be back where it was pre-COVID."

Recent examples of cricketers playing despite testing positive for COVID include Australian batter Mat Renshaw, who tested positive on a rapid antigen test on the morning of his Test return in the New Year's Test at the SCG against South Africa.

Renshaw had to isolate in his own change room for the first three days, but was still able to play.



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  • By Avi Yemini

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