American tennis player Sam Querrey and his family have reportedly fled Russia on a private jet after getting COVID-19, to evade local health authorities.
Querrey was playing in the St Petersburg Open yet was forced to withdraw from a doubles match, partnering Tennys Sandgren against Russian duo Daniil Golubev and Evgeny Tyurnev, after testing positive for coronavirus. The world No.49 was also meant to face Canadian star Denis Shapovalov in the singles opening round, to no avail.
That’s when things got wild, according to reporting from New York Times tennis writer Ben Rothenberg, who dedicated a Twitter thread to Querrey’s next moves. The ATP Tour has acknowledged Querrey’s reported actions and launched an investigation, fuming at what supposedly went down.
Rothenberg reports that Querrey and his family, wife Abby and eight-month-old son Ford, were told to quarantine in their hotel for 14 days. Their accommodation was the five-star St Petersburg Four Seasons – no problem.
But then, Querrey was called by Russian health authorities. He was told that they would be assessed by a doctor and may be forcibly hospitalised if symptoms were visible.
With only mild symptoms, the Querreys did not want to be hospitalised in a foreign country and were especially fearful of being separated from their baby son.
So Querrey, who has previously promoted private jet companies on his tennis apparel, arranged and paid for a private jet to get out of Russia. He and his family sat at the back of the plane to hopefully limit any COVID-19 exposure for the pilots.
The plane got the Querreys across the Russian border to what Rothenberg called “a nearby European country” which doesn’t require a negative coronavirus test for entry. They remain in accommodation within that country and intend to keep their location secret.
The ATP is fuming, branding the incident a “serious breach of protocols relating to COVID-19”.
“Adhering to health and safety protocols is critical to ensure events take place safely and within guidelines established by local authorities,” an ATP statement said.
“Players and their support team members are reminded that breaches of protocols can jeopardise and event’s ability to operate and have repercussions on the rest of the Tour.
“In accordance with ATP’s Code of Conduct, we are taking this matter extremely seriously and an investigation is underway.”
Querrey could face significant sanctions if the ATP Tour deems the offence grievous enough to crack down hard.
They may include a fine of up to $100,000 or a suspension of up to three years. At 33, Querrey would be all but finished in the professional game if handed such a ban.