Just a year ago, the Australian Open strictly required players to be fully vaccinated, and on top of that tested them all the time and put them in isolation if the test was positive for COVID-19. Two years ago the tournament was played in an extremely controled enviroment, in a biosecure bubble. In 2023, the rules are so relaxed that even players positive for coronavirus can compete.
Players will not be tested for COVID-19 at the 2023 Australian Open and will be allowed to play even if they have the virus. Athletes who are sick are only recommended but not required to stay away from competition.
“We just wanted to follow what’s currently in the community,” tournament director Craig Tiley said. “We have gone a step further by making a recommendation around staying away when you’re ill.”
Tiley also said that “there will potentially be players that will compete with COVID-19.” That’s a stark difference to last year when COVID negative players faced unexpected deportations due to their medical exemptions for vaccination being unaccepted or two years ago when just one person on a charter flight testing positive would send all the people who were on that flight into hard quarantine.
Canada’s Bianca Andreescu is bewildered by the new rules, as she replied to a tweet: “Last time I was in Melbourne I was quarantined in my room for two weeks. Damn.” It was in 2021, when Andreescu had to spend two weeks in hard quarantine, as her coach tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Melbourne. At the time, 72 players were isolated in strict hotel isolation and their preparation for the tournament was hampered. (source: BBC)