Two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is believed to be among a group of players facing 14 days of quarantine after two people on their charter flight tested positive to COVID-19.
An email has reportedly been sent to all players and officials who were aboard a flight out of Los Angeles, which stated they would no longer be able to leave their quarantine hotel to train.
The email read: “Unfortunately, we have been informed by the health authorities that two people on your flight from LAX that arrived at 5:15am on Friday 15 January have returned positive COVID-19 PCR tests on arrival to Melbourne.
“The Chief Health Officer has reviewed the flight and has determined that everyone on board needs to isolate and will be confined to their rooms for the 14-day quarantine period.
“We know this is not how you imagined your preparations for the AO would start but our entire team is here to support and do everything we can to get you through this.”
Karen Crouse, a journalist at The New York Times, reported on Saturday that the two new positive cases were on the flights from Los Angeles.
“I feel terrible for all the players aboard who now won’t be allowed to practice for the next two weeks except on the exercise bikes the Australian Open delivered to their rooms,” she tweeted.
“In the name of full transparency, I hope the Australian Open will divulge the names of the passengers on the LAX charter flight who tested positive in their day-of-arrival Covid test.”
Under original guidelines the players were permitted to leave their hotels for up to five hours to train.
As well as Azarenka who won the title in 2012 and ’13, American Sloane Stephens and Japanese star Kei Nishikori were also reportedly on the flight.
All passengers were required to return negative tests before boarding the flight, but two tested positive upon arrival.
American Tennys Sandgren, who was cleared to fly when his positive test was not deemed to be contagious, was also believed to be on board. But he is not said to be linked to the new positives.
Tennis Australia has been contacted for comment.