Emma Raducanu’s preparations for next month’s Australian Open have been derailed after she tested positive for Covid-19.
The 19-year-old US Open champion, who is experiencing mild symptoms and has begun her 10 days of self-isolation, will now miss the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, which begins on Thursday.
“I was very much looking forward to playing in front of the fans here in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately after testing positive for Covid-19, I will have to postpone until the next opportunity,” she said. “I’m isolating as per rules and hopefully will be able to get back on court soon.”
The Australian Open starts on Jan 17, with players required to be vaccinated and have tested negative in the 72 hours before they arrive in Australia rather than be subject to the country’s strict hotel-quarantine rules.
Currently ranked 19th in the world, Raducanu had been hoping to improve her position ahead of the Australian Open but will now be left with only a much shortened potential practice window before she will need to travel to Australia.
Raducanu was also announced among the six shortlisted candidates on Monday morning for the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year but had already been intending to miss the ceremony and is currently in the United Arab Emirates ahead of the Abu Dhabi tournament.
The BBC has drastically cut the number of those invited to its Sports Personality of the Year show in the wake of the Government’s new coronavirus restrictions.
The corporation confirmed the move after Telegraph Sport revealed top athletes had turned down invites because they would be forced to cancel their Christmas plans if they caught Covid-19 at the December 19 ceremony – and also potentially if they came into contact with someone infected with the omicron variant of the disease.
Latest figures show that around 80 per cent of the top 100 women’s tennis players have been vaccinated ahead of the Australian Open.
Australia have some of the strictest Covid-19 protocols in the world and players at the 2021 tournament were required to complete a 14-day quarantine period upon arriving in the country. The England’s men’s cricket team, who are currently in Australia for the Ashes, also spent two weeks in quarantine at a Gold Coast resort before they could begin fully their preparations.