Sandgren allowed to board Australian Open flight despite positive test

(Reuters) – Tennys Sandgren was allowed to board a chartered flight from Los Angeles bound for the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday despite recently testing positive for COVID-19, the American tennis player said on social media.

Sandgren, a quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park last year and in 2018, said on Twitter that after testing positive in November he had returned another positive test on Monday and might not be able to board his flight.

“Covid positive over thanksgiving Covid positive on monday,” he tweeted, adding later that he might be able to fly on Thursday instead.

However, he then said he was able to board the flight on Wednesday, which is carrying other players and coaching staff to the first Grand Slam of the year, with the help of Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

“Wait hold on I think they are trying to get me on 15 min after the plane was supposed to depart.. my bags still aren’t checked lol,” he wrote.

“Wow I’m on the plane.

“Craig Tiley is a wizard.”

Australian media reported the Los Angeles flight had returned to the gate after taking off. It was not clear whether Sandgren was on the plane when it took off.

He later tweeted that he was “totally healthy”.

“My two tests were less than 8 weeks apart. I was sick in November, totally healthy now,” he said.

“There’s not a single documented case where I would be contagious at this point.”

Australian Open organisers Tennis Australia said in a statement that “some people who have recovered from COVID-19 and who are non-infectious can continue to shed the virus for several months.

“Vic (Victoria state) government public health experts assess each case based on additional detailed medical records to ensure they are not infectious before checking in to the charter flights.

“Players and their teams are tested every day from their arrival in Australia, a much stricter process than for anyone else in hotel quarantine.”

Some 1,200 players and coaching staff are set to begin arriving from Thursday for the Feb. 8-21 tournament, which was delayed by three weeks.

Victoria state, once the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, has said it will impose the strongest protocols seen at any tennis tournament for those arriving on 15 chartered flights.

Players and staff must isolate for two weeks before they can take part in warmup events at Melbourne Park.