Testing times for Australian Open amid COVID-19 pandemic

Jan 19, 2022, 3:38 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2022, 9:28 am
Alexander Zverev of Germany waves after defeating John Millman of Australia in their second round m...

Alexander Zverev of Germany waves after defeating John Millman of Australia in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The safety protocols for COVID-19 have been a touchy subject at the Australian Open, particularly after nine-time champion Novak Djokovic was deported for failing to meet the country’s strict vaccination requirements.

So Olympic champion Alexander Zverev attracted wide attention after his second-round match when he said “we are not getting tested” and, therefore, there’s more COVID-19 cases around than there was in the more locked-down environment of last year.

Australian Open organizers clarified the process on Day 4 of the tournament, saying daily rapid antigen tests were being provided, testing clinics were open both onsite and at the player hotel, and there was mandatory symptomatic testing.

Masks also must be worn at all times at Melbourne Park except when playing, exercising or eating and drinking. Tournament organizers said everyone who traveled into Australia for the year’s first major had to undergo a mandatory PCR test on arrival and another between Days 5 and 7.

Because of a surge in the omicron variant and more pressure on the public health system, PCR testing has become more difficult to access in Melbourne and rapid antigen tests have also been in short supply.

Except at the Australian Open. Players, their entourages, officials and media are required to show evidence of regular negative tests to access Melbourne Park.

“They are very strict,” fourth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas said. “Well, it’s the responsibility of each and every athlete to test themselves regularly to see whether or not they are positive, which has been the case for me.

“I have been trying to get a few antigen tests and rapid tests to see whether or not I’m positive, which is a responsibility that I have, it’s something that I have to do in order to see if I’m 100%.”

Former major champions including Garbiñe Muguruza and Andy Murray are among those who said they were testing themselves regularly, and treating it like an honesty system.

Australian player Maddison Inglis said she was doing precautionary testing because “I want to keep myself and my team safe and everyone around me.”



Andy Murray has reached the Australian Open final five times in 14 trips to Melbourne Park but never won the title.

Two days after posting his first win in five years at the season-opening tennis Grand Slam tournament, the former No. 1 exited after losing to 120th-ranked Taro Daniel 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round.

His win over 21st-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round was his first at the Australian Open since 2017.

Injuries and illness kept him out in 2018 (hip), 2020 (pelvis) and 2021 (COVID-19), and he lost a five-setter in the first round in 2019, which many thought might have been his last in Australia.

So, was the loss to Daniel his last, or will the three-time major champion be back in 2023?

The 34-year-old Scot said “yeah” when asked if he would return, but only with certain provisos.

“Not if I do what I did tonight too often this season,” he said. “This is a really important year for me for a number of reasons, and I want to perform well in the big events. For me, tonight is not good enough in that respect.

“Making second round of Slams is not something I find particularly motivating. I want to be doing better than that.”

Murray engaged in a Twitter admiration exchange with Australian Open women’s champion Naomi Osaka this week.

Murray started with a post that asked: “Anyone hit the ball cleaner from the baseline than (at) naomiosaka?”

Osaka, another former No. 1, responded: “Anyone put their heart on their sleeve and fight harder than (at)andymurray?”

Osaka recalled after her second-round win how delighted she was to read Murray’s praise and how the pair had a practice session in Brisbane, Australia, three years ago.

“Yeah, definitely means a lot,” she said. “For me it was a really cool moment.”



Sam Stosur warned everyone before her 20th Australian Open campaign that there would be tears when her singles career came to an end.

Tears welled in her eyes as the 2011 U.S. Open champion sat in the court-side chair, soaking in the crowd support after her 6-2, 6-2 loss to 10th-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the second round.

“I just wanted to run for everything as hard as I could. I’ve done more than I ever thought possible,” Stosur said in an on-court ceremony after the match. “I dreamed of winning a Grand Slam and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

A video tribute played as an emotional Stosur stood mid-court, holding a bouquet of flowers.

“It was emotional for me,” Pavlyuchenkova told the crowd. “She is such a wonderful human being and an amazing tennis player.”

While her singles career is over — she also made a run to the French Open final in 2010 and three other semifinals at Roland Garros — the 37-year-old Stosur will continue playing doubles for the remainder of 2022.


More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Trae Young of Atlanta Hawks shoots between Serge Ibaka , left, and Jevon Carter of Milwaukee Bucks ...
Associated Press

Murray has 25 points to lead Hawks past Bucks in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Dejounte Murray scored 25 points in his Atlanta debut and the Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 123-113 on Thursday in the NBA’s first game in the United Arab Emirates and the Arabian Gulf. The teams will play another preseason game on Saturday at Etihad Arena. Giannis Antetokounmpo led […]
2 days ago
A fan holds up a cutout of the head of Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) duri...
Associated Press

MLB crowds jump from ’21, still below pre-pandemic levels

PHOENIX (AP) — Even with the homer heroics of sluggers like Aaron Judge and Albert Pujols, Major League Baseball wasn’t able to coax fans to ballparks at pre-pandemic levels this season, though attendance did jump substantially from the COVID-19 affected campaign in 2021. The 30 MLB teams drew nearly 64.6 million fans for the regular […]
2 days ago
Argentina forward Lionel Messi sits before the team's international friendly soccer match against J...
Associated Press

Lionel Messi says World Cup in Qatar will be his last

BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Lionel Messi has confirmed that the World Cup in Qatar next month will be the last of his career. The 35-year-old Argentina star will play in his fifth World Cup but is still seeking his first title at the showpiece tournament. “There’s some anxiety and nerves at the same time … […]
2 days ago
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) stiff-arms Washington linebacker Carson Bruener durin...
Associated Press

No. 11 Utah visits No. 18 UCLA in top Pac-12 matchup

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If Kyle Whittingham and his 11th-ranked Utah squad want to make another trip to the Rose Bowl in three months, Saturday’s game against No. 18 UCLA will go a long way in determining that. The Utes have won four straight since dropping their opener against Florida, but they now begin a […]
2 days ago
A woman prays near one of the gates of Kanjuruhan Stadium where a soccer stampede killed more than ...
Associated Press

Indonesian police to charge 6 people in soccer disaster

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian police said Thursday they are bringing criminal charges against three officers and three civilians for their roles in the deaths of 131 people when police fired tear gas inside a soccer stadium, setting off a panicked run for the exits in which many were crushed. National Police chief Listyo Sigit […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Duke visits Ga Tech out to build on best start since 2018

Duke (4-1, 1-0 ACC) at Georgia Tech (2-3, 1-1), Saturday, 4 p.m. ET (ACC Regional Sports Network) Line: Duke by 3½ points, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Series record: Georgia Tech leads 53-35-1, including wins in two straight. WHAT’S AT STAKE? Duke snapped a 13-game ACC losing streak in last week’s 38-17 home win over Virginia. […]
2 days ago
Testing times for Australian Open amid COVID-19 pandemic