French Open finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the World No 11 tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Australia on Tuesday, casting doubt on her involvement in the Australian Open.
I was fully vaccinated and was preparing for the start of the season in Dubai. But we live in a very difficult and unpredictable time. Right now I am in complete isolation, in a special hotel, and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors. Now it's important to take care of yourself and the health of others.
The 30-year-old Russian confirmed on social media that she had contracted coronavirus and was isolating: “Unfortunately, I have some bad news. I arrived in Australia on Tuesday and tested positive for COVID-19.
“I was fully vaccinated and was preparing for the start of the season in Dubai,” she tweeted on Thursday. “But we live in a very difficult and unpredictable time.
“Right now I am in complete isolation, in a special hotel, and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors.
“Now it’s important to take care of yourself and the health of others.
“I’ll be back on court when it’s safe for everyone.”
One of the biggest hitters in the women’s game, Pavlyuchenkova is coming off a career-defining 2021 season after making her first Grand Slam final in June, which she lost to Barbora Krejcikova at Roland Garros.
She won the Tokyo Olympics mixed doubles gold and led Russia to the Billie Jean King Cup title in Prague.
Pavlyuchenkova’s best result at Melbourne Park was reaching the quarter-finals in 2017, 2019 and 2020 and she is still seeking her maiden major title.
She is not the only player to catch COVID-19 ahead of the Australian Summer Swing, with Rafael Nadal, Denis Shapovalov, Andrey Rublev, Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur all testing positive after playing at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.
The WTA Tour kicks off its 2022 season with a 500 event in Adelaide on Sunday, with a couple of 250 events in Melbourne ahead of the year’s first major, which begins on 17 January.
Meanwhile, 2020 French Open semi-finalist Nadia Podoroska has pulled out of the Australian Openbecause of physical issues that have plagued the Argentine this year as player withdrawals begin to mount.
Podoroska, whose ranking has slipped from a career-high No 36 to 84 as she deals with multiple injuries, will not return to the tour until at least March.
She has had problems with hamstrings, hip and back at different stages throughout the season.
“I am sorry to announce my withdrawal from Australian Open due to the physical problems that I struggled with throughout this last season,” Podoroska said on Twitter.
“Although in this time I learned to coexist and compete with pain, the recovery process to heal my body definitely takes more time.
“That is why, together with my Tennis Positivo team, we decided not to compete again until March 2022.
“At the moment I am leaving for Alicante [Spain], where I will continue with my rehabilitation to be 100 per cent again when the time comes to return to the court.
“I feel fine, accompanied by the people I love and by a team of professionals who seek the best for my career and my health.”
Podoroska’s withdrawal takes the number of top-100 players out of the women’s draw to 6, including Karolina Pliskova, Jennifer Brady, Karolina Muchova, Serena Williams and Bianca Andreescu.
Zarina Diyas, Magdalena Frech, Fiona Ferro, Qiang Wang, Misaki Doi and Harmony Tan are set to be their replacements.