American tennis star Sam Querrey has opened up on how he and his family snuck into the UK after testing positive for Covid-19.
Querrey, his wife Abby Dixon and their son Ford, fled to London from Russia on a private jet after ignoring rules to isolate in their hotel late last year.
The 33-year-old said he had concerns over the prospect of being separated from his seven-month-old son if he was transferred to a hospital, prompting him and his family to leave their hotel facility early in the morning unbeknown to staff and ATP Tour officials.
"I kinda had to make a decision between 10pm and 10am the next day," Querrey told Sports Illustrated.
"I had my wife there, and I had my baby there, and as a human decision, I was like, 'Hey, I don't feel comfortable with this'. So we made the decision to charter a plane and leave.
"I contacted a jet broker, and said, 'can I get a plane in, like, nine hours leaving from St Petersburg to London?' and he came through and got one for me. We left the hotel early in the morning so we wouldn't be seen, and went right to the private jet terminal in St Petersburg and flew to London."
The privately chartered flight is believed to have cost the former world No 11 US$40,000.
"That was a very, very expensive flight"' Querrey said.
Querrey and his family arrived into London on October 13 and his family were able to enter the country with no tests, checks or screening due to the UK's approach at that time in airports.
In response to recent criticism, he said he wore a mask for the duration of the flight - aside from eating or drinking - and did not explore the UK capital on arrival, instead, going straight to their rented Airbnb property where they all quarantined for 14 days.
"I felt as a father and a husband there's a human element to this, and I had to do what I feel like is right. I wasn't willing to let our family go to a hospital for a minimum of two weeks where we were at," he added.
"In my opinion, we didn't really put anyone in danger. We kept to ourselves, we had two masks on, we did everything we possibly could in that journey to minimise exposure to anyone, and frankly, I think we did a great job. Talking to doctors [afterwards] they were like, 'Look, you guys did a great job of doing that, and I can't simply see how you would have passed it (the virus) along to anyone during that trip'."
As one of three Spurs players who breached Covid restrictions over Christmas, he was last week handed a suspended fine of £15,000 by the ATP for the breach of strict protocols.
In their investigation verdict, the ATP said that it took into consideration Querrey's 'many years of otherwise good standing with the ATP and other mitigating factors' in coming to their decision.
Querrey's best performance in a tennis Grand Slam tournament was in reaching the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2017. He is most noted for his big serve but is currently ranked No 56 in the world. He has won 10 titles on the ATP Tour.