New Zealand tennis players Artem Sitak and Marcus Daniell are set to spend the next two weeks in their Melbourne quarantine hotel rooms unable to practice.
It's emerged two passengers have tested positive to Covid-19 on one of the chartered flights that carried a tennis contingent to Australia for the Australian Open.
The two cases are the first positive cases for tennis players or officials since arriving in Australia. Doubles player Sitak confirmed to the Herald the positive cases were on was his flight which landed in Melbourne from Los Angeles on Friday.
"The health authorities have decided everyone has to be quarantined and isolate for the next 14 days. There is a small glimpse of hope that we might get out earlier - that is if those two passengers had the virus before and the positive test showed the dead virus shedding. If that's the case, we might be able to come out, but I don't have high hopes," Sitak said.
Under the rules agreed between Tennis Australia, the ATP and WTA Tours and the various Victorian authorities, players are allowed out of their rooms to practice and go to the gym for five hours a day while completing their two weeks isolation. But that now won't apply to the players on the affected flight.
"That was a good plan, two hours practice plus gym and everything and that was plenty, but unfortunately now it's going to be zero hours," Sitak lamented.
Sitak estimates around 40 players would have been on his flight. He received an email late this morning confirming the positive tests and immediately contacted Tennis Australia to arrange for a stationary bike to be sent to his hotel room.
"That's a relief; it was delivered within two hours of the request."
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Sitak concedes the confinement to his room for 14 days isn't ideal but he still believes he can be in reasonable shape for the start of the first Grand Slam on February 8 at Melbourne Park.
"I think for the doubles players 10 or 11 days before the start of the tournament will be enough time to get ready. It would have been better having another two weeks practice, but I will be okay. I feel bad for the singles players affected who must play the lead-in tournament in singles two days after they come out and they have less time to get ready."
The Kiwi will also miss out on two weeks practice with his doubles partner for the Open, Britain's Jonny O'Mara, who was on a different flight.
"Hopefully, everybody will avoid injuries because that is the main worry. It's going to be a little bit tricky and I just have to stay safe and smart and focus on the Australian Open."