Tennis Australia will cover the hotel quarantine costs for the Australian Open, confirming the Victorian government won’t be splitting the spiralling bill.
TA put out a statement late on Wednesday conceding Open boss Craig Tiley was wrong to claim the Victorian government would subsidise the cost of quarantine which is expected to be around $40 million.
“Tennis Australia is funding the AO quarantine program,” the statement said.
The correction came after it was confirmed at least one male player was a confirmed COVID-19 case, putting his tournament in jeopardy.
There are two players among 10 cases linked to the 17 Open charter flights, but only one is likely to be reclassified as viral shedding.
The other, an unnamed male player, as well as a member of his support staff who also tested positive, have moved to the medical hotel.
Depending on the severity of the case, the player is racing the clock to be fit for the 8 February start date at Melbourne Park.
“We had seven positive cases, none of which are players, and this morning we became aware of three more positives and they will be reported tomorrow,” Victoria’s COVID Quarantine Minister Lisa Neville said.
“One of those is a player who we absolutely believe is shedding but he has been in hard lockdown because he came in on one of the flights where we had positives.
“Of the other two, it’s less clear that they are shedding and that will be worked through and that’s one player and one support person.”
Ms Neville said the new positives wouldn’t affect the figure of 72 players already in hard lockdown.
The minister earlier disputed comments by Mr Tiley about quarantine billing for the 1200 international players, their support staff and officials in three hotels.
“Yes, absolutely – these quarantining costs are new costs. The state government is supporting us in that,” Mr Tiley said earlier.
But Ms Neville said it was not the case.
“I want to be very clear – hotel quarantine is fully funded by Tennis Australia,” she said.
“I’ve triple confirmed that again today after I saw that.
“We do support the Australian Open as an event, as we do all major events, but that is separate to the hotel quarantine program which is fully funded by Tennis Australia.”
Ms Neville also addressed video on social media from Kazakhstan tennis player Yulia Putintseva which showed mice in her hotel room.
The world No.28 has changed rooms once, but said it was an ongoing issue.
But Ms Neville accused Ms Putintseva of feeding the rodent.
“We’ve had the hotel pest controlled this week and I think there may have been some feeding going on of the mouse,” Ms Neville said.
“We’re doing everything we can to make sure these rooms don’t have mice … I’d encourage them to minimise interaction with the mice and we will keep doing pest control if we need to.”
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