Sport Quarantine uncertainty leaves tennis stars in limbo over French Open

Quarantine uncertainty leaves tennis stars in limbo over French Open

Britain's Andy Murray, pictured at the 2016 Australian Open, fears quarantine could disrupt the grand slams. Photo: Reuters
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Players need assurance that they would not face mandatory quarantine upon returning to Europe from the US Open before travelling to New York amid the COVID-19 pandemic, former world No.1 Andy Murray said.

Organisers United States Tennis Association (USTA) will set up a strict biosecurity ‘bubble’ to minimise the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus during the grand slam, which will be played from August 31 to September 13.

The Western & Southern Open, which was relocated from Cincinnati this year because of COVID-19, will also be held in New York from August 20-28 and will serve as a tune-up for the hardcourt grand slam.

Mandatory quarantine would rule out players’ participation in other ATP and WTA clay court events scheduled in Europe before the French Open from the end of September.

The two major clay court events in the lead-up to Roland Garros are in Madrid from September 13 to 20 and Rome from September 20 to 27.

While Spain does not require mandatory quarantine, Italy would need travellers to quarantine for 14 days if coming from the US.

The USTA has said the organisers are working with relevant authorities to resolve issues.

“My understanding is that it would be sorted before we go to America. But things can change in the next 10 to 12 days,” Murray told British media.

“Hopefully before we leave, the players will have the assurances that, when they come back from America, they won’t have to quarantine for two weeks.

“If that is the case, and if you do well in the US Open, you can’t just arrive on the Sunday before the French Open starts on the Monday. That’s not going to work.”

Murray, a three-time grand slam winner, has not played competitively since November due to hip problems but took part in some exhibition events recently with the professional circuit shut.

The 33-year-old said he is willing to take the travel “risk” as he missed playing in big events.

“The situation I’ve been in the last few years, I’ve not had opportunity to play in many slams. I don’t know how many I’ll have left,” Murray said.

“So, while I’m feeling relatively decent … obviously there is a risk there, but I want to try and play in them and enjoy the biggest events again.”