Tennis: Forty-seven players in Melbourne quarantine before Australian Open

Forty-seven players have been forced into two weeks of hotel quarantine in Melbourne, after three COVID-19 infections were reported on two chartered flights carrying them to the year's first Grand Slam.

Two dozen players who arrived from Los Angeles entered strict hotel quarantine, after an aircrew member and Australian Open participant, who is not a player, tested positive for the new strain of coronavirus.

Later, another non-player passenger on a flight from Abu Dhabi tested positive, prompting the organisers to usher 23 players into hotel quarantine.

All three who tested positive had been transferred to a health hotel, organisers say.

The players can't leave their hotel rooms for 14 days and until they are medically cleared, meaning they will be prohibited from practicing.

The decision will translate into unequal preparation for the participants.

Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas took to Twitter to express his feelings.

Dominic Thiem waves as he boards the bus.
Dominic Thiem waves as he boards the bus. Photo credit: Getty

"From having five hours of training in a bubble to this... (strict quarantine x 15 days). I will be showing you my workouts x Instagram (inside the room)," wrote the world No.68.

Australia has agreed to accept about 1200 players, officials and staff on 15 flights for the major sporting event that is due to begin next month.

Players are needing to be creative with their training whilst in quarantine over the next 14 days. Cuevas is one player that has taken that route with a cleaver set up in his room.

Apart from Cuevas, Mexican player Santiago Gonzalez has also confirmed being on that flight in a social media post.

Other players cited by local media as likely to be on the flight included Tennys Sandgren - who was granted special permission to travel from Los Angeles late last week, after testing positive for the new coronavirus - and womens world No.13 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.

"We are communicating with everyone on this flight - and particularly the playing group whose conditions have now changed - to ensure their needs are being catered to as much as possible," says tournament director Craig Tiley.

Scottish former world No.1 Andy Murray reveals he tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but says he is in good health and still hopes to compete. American Madison Keys pulled out last week, after she tested positive.

The inbound infections come as Australia recorded one locally acquired case and states begin to relax travel bans, after signs an outbreak in the northern state of Queensland has been contained.