Portugal’s top player Joao Sousa says he will not be able to travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open despite returning a negative test for COVID-19.
The 31-year-old, who has attended the last eight editions of the season-opening grand slam, says he won’t be going because of the Australian government’s strict protocols on a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.
Seventy-two players are currently confined to their rooms in Melbourne ahead of the February 8-21 event after positive cases were discovered on three flights ferrying them to Australia.
Sousa said he tested positive for COVID-19 before his departure but has since returned a negative test and is asymptomatic.
“Even though I already tested negative and have no symptoms, due to the strict rules of the Australian government, I won’t be able to travel,” Sousa wrote on Instagram on Saturday.
Sousa, who was a semi-finalist in the men’s doubles in Melbourne in 2019, has not missed the main draw of a grand slam since 2013 when he was eliminated in the Wimbledon qualifiers.
The world no.92 joins former world No.1 Andy Murray among players who have withdrawn after testing positive for the virus.