Andy Murray last played at the Australian Open in 2019 – which, in his opinion, could have been his last game as a professional
Five-time finalist Andy Murray will miss the Australian Open after finding a solution to a “working quarantine” after failing to find positive test for coronavirus.
The former number one in the world had hoped to travel safely after a negative test and compete as planned.
Murray said he was “disappointed” not to go.
He was asymptomatic and is now out of self-isolation, but it proved too difficult for him to find a way to travel to Australia and then quarantine before the tournament started on February 8th.
“We have been in constant dialogue with Tennis Australia to find a solution that will make the quarantine work, but we have not been able to get it to work,” said Murray.
“I’d like to thank everyone there for their efforts. I’m devastated not to play in Australia. It’s a country and a tournament that I love.”
Murray was only able to play seven official games in 2020 due to an ongoing pelvic injury and the five-month hiatus due to the pandemic.
As 123rd in the world, he was classified too low to be able to participate directly in the Australian Open, so the three-time Grand Slam champion received a wild card.
The Australian Open at Melbourne Park starts three weeks later than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Players had to test negative before taking any of the 15 charter flights to Australia operated by tournament organizers last week that were 25% busy.
Upon arrival, the players and their support staff went straight to a 14-day quarantine under conditions imposed by the Australian government.
This arrangement allowed them to go out of their rooms for up to five hours a day to eat and practice.
However, 72 players were locked in their rooms in a tougher quarantine – resulting in some discomfort and creative ways to stay fit – after traveling on three flights that were found to be positive on arrival.
Australian Open participants will have to train in a variety of circumstances this year
BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller
After Murray missed his flight to Melbourne and started quarantining the players for 14 days last weekend, he was always against it.
There are no health issues or injury concerns, and Murray was hoping he could make it to Australia to complete the quarantine in time to play a first-round game on February 8 or 9.
But the only “functional quarantine” would have taken five hours out of his room every day. This was no longer available and no player – regardless of age or injury history – would want to play a first-round Grand Slam game in a hotel room just a few hours after two weeks.
Murray is understandably devastated: he knows that at 33 years old and two hip surgeries behind him, he cannot guarantee that there will be another opportunity.
But it would have been a long way to potentially lose in the first round and get a special exception if Murray might not have liked it over time.
Instead, he will work with his team on his next step. Montpellier and Rotterdam are the next two ATP tournaments in Europe, although nothing is easy with Covid’s travel restrictions – especially from a country outside the EU.
- You can stream five fourth round matches live on the BBC this weekend, including Liverpool’s trip to Manchester United. Find out more here.