Australian Open lockdown exit plans revealed
Tennis Australia is still carefully negotiating with the Victorian Government when Australian Open-bound stars will exit their 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
The first batch of players and support staff could emerge from quarantine as early as Thursday evening but the process will last until Saturday.
It's believed the plan is for their exit to be co-ordinated with when the 14-day period expires for the last person in their cohort.
Players and staff will receive an 'end of detention' notice under their hotel room door that informs them of their 30-minute window to check out.
They must have returned a negative day 13 coronavirus test result and be asymptomatic to leave their hotel, while those in 'hard' quarantine require a COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria letter of clearance.
The Australian Open crew will effectively live by the same rules as everyone else once they leave, and have been briefed on places they must wear a mask, including while receiving physiotherapy.
It's understood the Grand Hyatt, where some will be staying, will be a 'red zone' until all participants have left on Saturday morning.
They have the option of remaining in quarantine until then - after which they can leave, then their room will be cleaned - or stay in TA-organised alternative accommodation before checking back in on Sunday.
Members in hard quarantine, including 72 players, were identified as close contacts of a positive test across three of TA's 17 charter flights that landed in Melbourne and Adelaide.
They haven't left their hotel room for the duration of their stay, whereas players in soft quarantine were able to leave for five hours a day to train.
The Herald Sun revealed this week that players leaving hard quarantine will be given priority access to courts and court times to help make up for their training shortfall.
Spain's Paula Badosa is the only player to test positive and won't be able to leave her health hotel until next week, while Australia's Ellen Perez arrived later and also won't exit quarantine until then.
However, Eddie Elliott - the coach of American Lauren Davis - has already left quarantine after being the first person associated with the tournament to test positive on the plane from Los Angeles.
Elliott's early departure was a topic of consternation among quarantined players this week, as reported first by the Herald Sun.
Victoria's chief health officer, Brett Sutton, clarified that people were no longer considered infectious 10 days after being diagnosed.
Originally published as Revealed: Aus Open lockdown exit plans