American tennis star Sam Querrey is facing a three-year ban from the sport after fleeing Russia following a positive test for COVID-19. The world no.49 was due to play in the ATP 500 St Petersburg in the first round against second seed Denis Shapovalov but tested positive for coronavirus along with his wife, Abby, and his eight-month-old son, Ford. He was replaced in the main draw by Viktor Troiki at Russia.
According to journalist Ben Rothenberg, Querrey and his family were instructed to quarantine for 14 days in the Four Seasons hotel. However, he then received a call from someone from the Russian health authorities who said the family would be visited by another doctor and if they were found to have symptoms they could be forcibly hospitalised.
Sam and his family were experiencing mild symptoms but feared being hospitalised in Russia, especially as it would likely mean they were separated from their eight-month-old son in a foreign country.
Querrey, as a result, contacted a private jet sponsor and paid for his family to be swiftly taken across the Russian border and out of the reach of the country’s health authorities. The family sat at the very back of the plane to ensure they kept as much distance as possible from the pilots and were taken to “a nearby European country” that didn’t require a negative test to enter and are now isolating in an AirBNB.
The governing body,ATP has called the Querrey’s actions a “serious breach” of their health protocols and said they “are taking this matter extremely seriously and an investigation is underway”.
It also said that a move could “jeopardise an event’s ability to operate and have repercussions on the rest of the Tour”.
Under ATP rules, if they find his protocol breach to have been a major offence and damaging to the future of the Tour, he could be fined up to $100,000 (USD) and/or suspended from the ATP for a period of up to three years.
It comes as a hit to the already struggling Sam.