Rafael Nadal tests positive to COVID-19, status for Aus Open unclear, injury, tennis news, entry list

Rafael Nadal’s Australian Open status is up in the air after the Spanish superstar tested positive for COVID-19.

Nadal is isolating at home and has informed his close contacts after confirming on social media that he had tested positive upon arrival in Spain.

He confirmed his status for the January 17-30 grand slam in Melbourne was uncertain.

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“Both in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi we passed controls every two days and all were negative, the last being on Friday and having the results on Saturday,” Nadal said according to a Google Translate version of his Instagram post.

“I am having some unpleasant moments but I hope that I will improve little by little. I am now homebound and have reported the result to those who have been in contact with me.

“As a consequence of the situation, I have to have total flexibility with my calendar and I will analyse my options depending on my evolution.

“I will keep you informed of any decisions about my future tournaments!”

Australian Open players and officials are set to start arriving in Australia from December 28, with 17 chartered flights to arrive over the course of a week or so.

That means it’s unclear whether Nadal will be permitted to fly to Australia in time for the tournament – especially if he wants to play lead-up events beforehand.

The 20-time grand slam singles champion is currently ranked sixth in the world.

It comes as 2020 runner-up Dominic Thiem’s announcement he won’t contest the ATP Cup or Sydney Tennis Classic – of which he was the headline act for the men – also cast doubt on his status.

That news follows Roger Federer (knee) and Stan Wawrinka (foot) withdrawing, the mystery around Novak Djokovic’s plans, and Nadal (foot) previously admitting there was “no guarantee” of his involvement.

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The women’s field also lost reigning Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady (foot) on Sunday.

Brady joins former world No.1 Karolina Pliskova (hand) and grand slam champions Serena Williams (hamstring), Bianca Andreescu (personal reasons) and Svetlana Kuznetsova in being out.

Thiem, who was runner-up at Melbourne Park last year, hasn’t played since late June because of a wrist injury, and a non-Covid-related illness has set him back further.

The world No.15 still wants to compete in the Australian Open, which begins on January 17, but said a call on that would not be made for at least another week.

Others not going to Melbourne are Jeremy Chardy (adverse reaction to Covid vaccine), Guido Pella (knee), Aljaz Bedene (lingering fatigue from Covid), Pierre-Hugues Herbert (unvaccinated) and Kyle Edmund (knee).

Queensland teenager Olivia Gadecki, who would have been a strong wildcard contender, has also chosen not to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

– with Mark McGowan, Newswire

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