Tennis star has positive COVID test after landing in Oz, Djokovic pulls out of Sydney event

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Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov has announced he has tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Sydney.

The 22-year-old is one of the first overseas players to arrive in Australia and is part of Canada’s team for the ATP Cup in Sydney from January 1-9, ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne.

Former world No.10 Shapovalov played last week at the World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi, where he beat 20-times major winner Rafa Nadal in the third-place playoff match.

Nadal, Olympic champion Belinda Bencic and Tunisian Ons Jabeur all tested positive for the virus after playing the tournament.

Shapovalov said he is experiencing minor symptoms.

“Hi everyone, just wanted to update you that upon my arrival in Sydney, I tested positive for COVID,” Shapovalov tweeted.

“I am following all protocols including isolation and letting the people who I’ve been in contact with know.

“Right now I am experiencing minor symptoms and look forward to getting back on the court when it safe to do so.”

All players have to return negative tests 72 hours before flying to Australia.

They also have to undergo testing upon landing in Australia and, while waiting for the test results, have to remain in isolation.

The 2022 ATP Cup will feature 16 teams and be hosted across two venues at the Sydney Olympic Park. Canada are in Group C with Germany, Britain and the United States.

The Australian Open begins on January 17.

Meanwhile, world No.1 Novak Djokovic will not travel to Sydney for the men’s season-opening ATP Cup next week, Serbian daily Blic reports.

Djokovic was named in Serbia’s team for the ATP Cup, although the 34-year-old has yet to commit to the Australian Open following the COVID-19 vaccination mandate agreed by Tennis Australia and the Victorian Department of Health.

Djokovic has declined to disclose whether he is vaccinated, citing privacy concerns.

Serbia have been drawn in Group A – along with Norway, Chile and Spain – at the ATP Cup, which is scheduled for January 1-9, before the Australian Open begins on January 17.

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said on Wednesday he is still uncertain whether Djokovic will be playing at the Melbourne Park major.

Tiley has said all players and staff at the Australian Open would be vaccinated or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts.

Those requirements have prevented Djokovic from confirming whether he will bid for a men’s record 21st grand slam title and a 10th Australian Open crown.

© AAP

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