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Players switch back to Covid mode as fans exit Australian Open

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General view of a closed entrance gate at Melbourne

Greece's Michail Pervolarakis didn't compete at this year's Australian Open but was on court for the ATP Cup, playing alongside world No.6 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

It dealt another blow to the year's first Grand Slam, which started three weeks late to allow global players to quarantine and had already welcomed tens of thousands of socially distanced fans in the biggest crowds seen in tennis since the pandemic.

Of the Australian Open, he said, "If it was a longer-term prospect - more than five days - things might well be different".

The players, perhaps aware of the backlash in the host city that followed some complaints about restrictions in the early days of their pre-tournament hotel quarantine, have accepted the lockdown with equanimity.

It comes after the Victorian health department issued an alert for the Brunetti cafe at Terminal 4 in Melbourne airport.

Last week, play in all six tuneup tournaments was suspended for a day after the worker in one of the tournament's quarantine hotels tested positive for the coronavirus.

About 29 flights arrived and departed through the terminal during the eight-hour window.

"Hi everyone. After a 24-plus hour travel day from Australia South Africa, I've been diagnosed positive to COVID-19", Pervolarakis confirmed on Instagram.

"I am completely asymptomatic at the moment and will have to quarantine in an isolation facility in Potchefstroom".

"I am not a person that complains, but I feel that I need to express my disappointment with the conditions we are in".

He posted a video of a tiny room with no TV or air conditioning and a small mattress.

Despite the challenges, the Grand Slam, which had been delayed three weeks, started as scheduled on Monday, but spectator numbers were reduced to 30,000 a day, although far fewer have attended.

Australia's second most populous state Victoria entered a five-day lockdown today as authorities raced to prevent a third wave of Covid-19 cases sparked by the highly infections United Kingdom variant.

The lockdown is in response to a Covid-19 outbreak at Melbourne Airport's Holiday Inn, which has grown to 13 cases. "These people are essentially at their workplace", he said.

'And the workforce will be the minimum that is needed in order for that to be COVID-safe and safe in lots of other contexts'.

However, Victoria's Minister for Health Martin Foley said the player departed Australia through Melbourne Airport's global terminal, not Terminal Four.

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday announced a five-day, State-wide lockdown starting a minute before midnight local time, imposing new restrictions that restrict residents to their homes except for work, to shop for essential supplies, care or caregiving, and limited exercise.

From Friday February 12 at 11.59pm, new rules apply to Victoria for five days until 11.59pm on Wednesday February 17 due to a worrying new outbreak of the United Kingdom mutant strain of Covid-19.

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