Tennis star Denis Shapovalov tests positive for Covid after arriving in Sydney | Australian Open

Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov has announced he has tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Sydney ahead of the Australian Open.

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 on 1-9 January, ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne starting on 17 January.

The news comes as fellow Canadian Milos Raonic becomes the latest player to be ruled out of the Australian Open and world No 1 Novak Djokovic is reportedly not travelling to Sydney for ATP Cup, despite being named in Serbia’s team.

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.

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.

Meanwhile, doubts remain over the nine-time champion Djokovic’s Australian Open participation after the world No 1 was reported by Serbian daily Bilic to have pulled out of the ATP Cup.

Djokovic was named in Serbia’s team but 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.

The 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.

Australian Open organisers said Raonic pulled out of the first grand slam of 2022 as he continues his recovery from a heel injury, organisers say.

Raonic suffered a thigh injury in March and returned to the tour after a three-month gap. But his 2021 season was cut short due to another heel issue following his first-round loss at the Atlanta Open in July.

“Milos Raonic has withdrawn from the #AusOpen as he continues his recovery from an Achilles injury,” the Australia Open organisers said on Twitter on Saturday.

The Canadian, who has currently slipped to 70th, is the latest to be ruled out of the Australian Open, with Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Jennifer Brady, Karolína Plíšková, Karolína Muchová, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu also ruled out with injuries.

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