Andy Murray tests positive for virus before Australian Open

Andy Murray. (Andres Kudacki/AP)

Andy Murray has tested positive for the coronavirus days before he was due to leave Britain for the Australian Open, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Murray also informed tournament staff of his condition.

The three-time Grand Slam champion is isolating at home near London and still hopes to compete in Australia when it is safe to travel, the person said.

Murray has been given a wild-card entry into the first Grand Slam tournament of 2021.

The Australian Open was delayed three weeks because of COVID-19 restrictions and is set to begin Feb. 8. Players and officials must spend 14 days in quarantine once they arrive in Australia.

Murray, a five-time Australian Open runner-up, earlier backed out of the Delray Beach Open in Florida to ``minimize the risks'' of contracting the virus through international travel.

While a positive test threatens Murray's participation in Australia, it doesn't necessarily rule it out.

American player Tennys Sandgren was given special clearance to board a charter flight from Los Angeles to Melbourne despite testing positive for COVID-19 in November and again on Monday.

Under tournament protocols agreed with Australian government authorities, all players had to return a negative test before boarding their flights to Australia and would be subjected to further testing on arrival and daily during a 14-day period of quarantine.

Sandgren received an exemption after Australian health officials assessed his case history.

The first of about 1,200 players, coaches, entourage and officials were set to land Thursday in Australia.

Tennis Australia said Thursday that players who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 were ``required to provide additional and highly detailed medical information as proof they are a recovered case and no longer infectious or a risk to the community.''

Murray has slipped to No. 122 in the ATP rankings after several years of battling hip injuries and surgery.

The 33-year-old Scot made a teary retirement announcement in Melbourne two years ago before undergoing a second round of surgeries to extend his career.

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