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‘Rules are rules’: Tennis coach admits infection as officials defend quarantine

A Victorian MP said confirmed there have been no more coronavirus cases linked to the Australian Open, as she admitted it’s “not ideal” that almost 50 players cannot leave their hotel rooms.

The three infected people – who are not players – arrived across two chartered flights carrying tennis players and staff over the past two days.

Victorian Minister Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed two of the three cases were non-players – one coach has admitted he’s one of them – and another was an airline crew member.

Tennis players and their support teams participating at the Australian Open arrive in Melbourne. (Getty)

The energy minister pressed the point that players and staff must adhere to Tennis Australia’s quarantine rules.

Originally players and coaches were going to be allowed to leave their hotel rooms for five hours a day but those on the planes have been plunged into strict quarantine.

“We know that COVID knows no bounds and no boundaries, whether you’re a first class tennis player or a spectator in the audience,” she said.

“We need to keep to the clear health advice. It’s far from ideal but COVID is not ideal. Rules are rules, no matter who you are.”

Serena Williams with her daughter arrive at Adelaide Airport for 14 days of hotel quarantine ahead of the Australian Open. (Getty)

Ms D’Ambrosio said all efforts were being made to make sure players and staff isolating in their hotel rooms were as comfortable as possible and gym equipment was being provided.

2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu’s coach Sylvain Bruneau confirmed he was one of the positive cases and said he was “saddened and sorry” by the result in a statement on Twitter.

“I am deeply sorry to share that I have just tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival here in Melbourne, after travelling from Abu Dhabi on flight EY8004.

“I have followed all the safety protocols and procedures, including testing negative within 72 hours before the flight departure and felt perfectly fine when I boarded the plane,” Mr Bruneau said.

“I also respected and followed all COVID protocols and guidelines while in the Middle East. I have no idea how I might have contracted this virus.

“I am extremely saddened and sorry for the consequences now on everyone’s shoulders sharing my flight. The rest of my team is negative and I sincerely hope that any further disruption is kept to a minimum.”

Bianca Andreescu, of Canada, left, talks with her coach Sylvain Bruneau during a 2019 match in Miami. (AP)

No other positive tests have yet been detected from the flight from Abu Dhabi which arrived in Melbourne at 8.20am on Friday – but testing for passengers and close contacts will continue across the next two weeks.

Players who were on the COVID positive flights cases are now unable to train three weeks out from the Open and must do 14 days of strict room-only quarantine.

Players and staff on 15 other charter flights which have arrived in Melbourne and Adelaide from seven international cities face a nervous wait to find out if anyone on board their flight tests positive.

Novak Djokovic arrives at Adelaide Airport ahead of the Australian Open before which he must quarantine in a designated hotel for 14 days. (Getty)

“We are planning on February 8. We have two weeks of some great tennis and our intention is to absolutely continue with those dates.” he told Weekend Today.

Source: 9News | World News

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