London – Former world No. 1 Andy Murray said he was “gutted” after deciding to withdraw from next month’s Australian Open following a positive test for COVID-19 earlier this month.
The 33-year-old Murray, a wildcard, confirmed last Thursday that he had tested positive for the virus and was in self-isolation at his home near London.
That meant he was unable to take one of the charter flights provided by Australian Open organizers, leaving him in a race to arrive in enough time to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
“Gutted to share that I won’t be flying out to Australia to compete at the Australian Open,” Murray was quoted as saying by British media on Friday.
“We’ve been in constant dialogue … to try and find a solution which would allow some form of workable quarantine, but we couldn’t make it work.”
Even if Murray had managed to arrive in time he would’ve gone into the event with only minimal time to practice.
“I want to thank everyone there for their efforts. I’m devastated not to be playing out in Australia. It’s a country and tournament that I love,” the Briton added.
It’s another blow to the five-time Australian Open runner-up, whose last appearance at the tournament was in 2019. Murray received an emotional farewell on the court that year after losing to Roberto Bautista Agut, as it seemed his career was nearing its end because of a hip injury.
After another surgery, however, Murray returned to the ATP Tour later in 2019 and even claimed a title in Antwerp.
He only played in seven ATP matches last year due to more injuries and the disruption caused by the pandemic. He ended his season in October because of a pelvic issue.
The three-time Grand Slam champion, currently ranked No. 123, pulled out of the season-opening Delray Beach Open in Florida earlier this month to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
Seventy two players are currently confined to their rooms in Melbourne after traveling on three flights where positive cases were discovered upon arrival.
The tournament is scheduled to start on Feb. 8, three weeks later than usual.
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