Australian Open quarter-finalist Tennys Sandgren has been granted permission to travel Down Under despite testing positive for COVID-19 on Monday.
Sandgren was infected with the coronavirus in November, but tested positive for a second time this week.
On Thursday AEDT, the 29-year-old American suggested he had not been allowed to board the chartered flight to Australia from Los Angeles.
“At least I get to keep my points,” he posted to Twitter.
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But the world No.50 followed up by claiming he may be able to catch a flight the following day.
However, Sandgren then said he was on the chartered flight, cryptically calling Tennis Australia’s chief executive a “wizard”.
“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 tweeted.
“Wow I’m on the plane … Craig Tiley is a wizard.”
Tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg then revealed the plane was forced to return to its gate at the Los Angeles airport, before eventually taking off.
The confusing ordeal understandably sparked speculation about whether Tiley had authorised a player who tested positive to the virus this week to board a flight alongside dozens of Australian Open competitors.
But a Tennis Australia spokesperson explained that a non-infectious person who has fully-recovered from COVID-19 could continue to shed the virus for several months.
“Vic 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,” the spokesperson said.
“Players and their teams are tested every day from their arrival in Australia, a much stricter process than for anyone else in hotel quarantine.”
Sandgren elaborated: “My two tests were less than 8 weeks apart. I was sick in November, totally healthy now. There’s not a single documented case where I would be contagious at this point. Totally recovered!”
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Sandgren almost defeated tennis superstar Roger Federer in last year’s Australian Open quarter-final after holding seven match points.
Australian Open organisers chartered 15 flights to start arriving in the country from Thursday night, with around 1200 players, officials and support staff expected to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine ahead of the grand slam.
Despite the seemingly endless number of obstacles, the 2021 Australian Open is scheduled to commence on February 8.