Badosa tests positive for COVID before AO

Spain's Paula Badosa has tested positive for COVID-19 before the Australian Open.
Spain's Paula Badosa has tested positive for COVID-19 before the Australian Open.

Rising Spanish star Paula Badosa is set to go into the Australian Open without a match under her belt this year after testing positive to COVID-19.

The 23-year-old is racing the clock to be fit with her isolation period restarting from Thursday after her result was revealed.

With the lead-in WTA tournament starting January 31 in Melbourne, New York-born Badosa is only due out of lockdown that day at the earliest.

Her last tournament was in October in the Czech Republic.

Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said Badosa, who arrived a week ago, would have to isolate for extra time ahead of the February 8 Open start date.

"That's an unfortunate consequence for anyone who becomes a confirmed case - the isolation period starts from when that case is confirmed," Sutton said on Friday.

"For ordinary coronavirus that period is at least 10 days, so you have to be free of symptoms for three days and complete that 10 days.

"For the variants of concern, including the UK strain as some call it, that period of isolation is 14 days so it will depend on those elements."

Sutton said it wouldn't be made public which strain the world No.67 had.

Badosa had already been isolating in Melbourne after two co-passengers on her tournament-chartered flight from Abu Dhabi tested positive.

The only competitor to be named as an active coronavirus case, she posted on social media on Thursday she had been moved to the "health hotel" after feeling unwell.

Badosa ended 2020 on a high, reaching the last 16 at the French Open and attaining a career-high ranking

She is due to compete in her third Australian Open, having reached the second round last year before being knocked out by Petra Kvitova.

Meanwhile, world No.1 Novak Djokovic says the first place he's heading to when out of quarantine is a park.

A frequent visitor to Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens, Djokovic says he misses his "freedom".

"The first thing I am going to do ... I'm just going to run straight to this park and I'm just going to spend an hour there," Djokovic told Adelaide's Mix 102.3.

"I miss it. I miss being free and being able to walk around."

The Serbian is in Adelaide with the game's biggest stars to prepare for an exhibition there on January 29.

He is still allowed out to train for up to five hours a day and has been quarantining in luxury with his large support staff, regularly photographed on his balcony.

The eight-time Open champion said while he felt for the 72 players in 14 days hard lockdown in Melbourne he couldn't complain.

"Nobody likes to be locked up in a room for 14 days but at the same time we have been very fortunate comparing to the guys in Melbourne as well," Djokovic said.

Australian Associated Press