Exit strategy for tennis stars in hotel lockdown
Tennis Australia has worked feverishly in recent days to put in place plans for Australian Open-bound players to exit quarantine at the end of this week.
Every player in Melbourne and Adelaide is set to finish their mandatory 14-day quarantine period on Friday and Saturday, except for Spaniard Paula Badosa and Australia's Ellen Perez.
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley is hosting another player briefing on Monday night, with the post-quarantine process sure to be a hot topic.
Badosa is the only player still entered for the Australian Open who tested positive for the coronavirus, and her quarantine period effectively restarted last Thursday.
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The 23-year-old's positive test occurred on her seventh day of quarantine and she was transferred to a health hotel, where she will remain until as late as February 4 - four days before the Open starts.
Perez returned late from the event's qualifying in Dubai, because she had a runny nose on the day she was set to fly out and wasn't allowed to board the plane.
She subsequently tested negative for COVID-19 and caught a later flight a few days later, but isn't due out of quarantine until Tuesday night next week.
Badosa and Perez are two of 73 players in 'hard' quarantine who either tested positive, were identified as close contacts of someone who returned a positive result, or arrived late.
Perez isn't in the same accommodation as the rest of the Australian Open competitors.
It's believed the idea is for players to depart their hotel room at close to the time they arrived - once they're medically cleared - so if they checked in in the morning, they get to leave at the same stage.
However, there won't be a pack of players leaving at once, with the Herald Sun understanding just one person per hotel floor is likely to depart at a time, so it will be a long process.
Those in hard quarantine will take priority in all circumstances, including first choice on booking courts and practice times over those who've been in soft quarantine.
The eight stars in Adelaide, including Australia's world No.1 Ash Barty, who didn't need to quarantine, will be out in time to play in Friday's A Day at the Drive exhibition event.
Originally published as Exit strategy for tennis stars in hotel lockdown