A worker at a Melbourne hotel tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, halting play at six different events leading up to next week’s Australian Open.
The individual in question works at the Grand Hyatt, one of three Melbourne hotels being used to quarantine players, coaches, and officials for the Australian Open.
Officials: No Need to Panic Over One Case
Anyone staying at that hotel must now remain there until they test negative for COVID-19. Australian Open organizers didn’t announce how many players or officials were staying in the Grand Hyatt, but given the size of the hotel, it could number in the hundreds.
Victoria premier Daniel Andrews shared news of the positive test via a late-night press conference on Wednesday.
“This is a test that’s come through in the afternoon,” Professor Brett Sutton, Victoria’s chief health officer, told reporters on Wednesday. “We’ve already ramped up every aspect of the response that we know needs to be in place to get ahead of it.”
In total, the six tournaments had 62 matches scheduled for play on Thursday, all at Melbourne Park. Organizers canceled the entire slate of play.
Health Authorities have advised us that a Hotel Quarantine worker has tested positive for COVID-19.
Those associated with the AO who quarantined at the hotel now need to be tested and isolate until they receive a negative test result.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 3, 2021
“We will work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible,” Australian Organizers said in a statement. “There will be no matches at Melbourne Park on Thursday. An update on the schedule for Friday will be announced later today.”
Andrews said that the situation shouldn’t disrupt the Australian Open itself, which begins on Monday.
“This is one case. There’s no need for people to panic,” Andrews said. “We Victorians know what to do, and we have proven, as a state, very successful at managing these sorts of outbreaks, these sorts of issues.”
Of the 909 deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Australia, 820 have occurred in Victoria. On Wednesday, local health officials announced that the state had gone 28 days without any local transmission of the virus.
Djokovic, Osaka Favored in Australian Open
While officials haven’t revealed which players are staying at the hotel in question, some of the top stars in the tennis world definitely weren’t there. Organizers provided secure accommodations in Adelaide for players including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, and Serena Williams.
Djokovic enters the Australian Open as a +140 favorite to win the tournament for the ninth time, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Serbian superstar won the event in each of the past two years. Daniil Medvedev (+475), Nadal (+550), and Dominic Thiem (+550) are also leading picks to claim the title in Melbourne. In the women’s draw, Osaka (+550) comes in as the favorite over Williams (+900), Ashleigh Barty (+900), and Aryna Sabalenka (+900).
Australian Open organizers expect up to 30,000 spectators to attend the tournament each day over the two-week event. It’s unclear if the positive COVID-19 test will impact those plans, though officials haven’t suggested changes will be necessary.