Sousa withdraws from Australian Open

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    PORTUGAL’S Joao Sousa says he will not travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open despite returning a negative test for COVID-19 due to the Australian government’s strict protocols on a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival.

    Seventy-two players are currently confined to their rooms in Melbourne ahead of the Feb. 8-21 Grand Slam after positive cases were discovered on three flights ferrying them to Australia.

    Sousa said he tested positive for COVID-19 before his departure but has since returned a negative test and is asymptomatic.

    “Even though I already tested negative and have no symptoms, due to the strict rules of the Australian government, I won’t be able to travel,” Sousa wrote on Instagram on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

    Sousa has not missed the main draw of a Grand Slam since 2013 when he was eliminated in the Wimbledon qualifiers.

    The 31-year-old joins former world No. 1 Andy Murray among players withdrawing from the year’s first Grand Slam after testing positive for the virus.