Russia’s Andrey Rublev reveals positive Covid-19 test after winning Abu Dhabi exhibition event

Yet another likely title contender has tested positive for Covid-19, with Russian Andrey Rublev unlikely to be cleared before he’s expected on the ground in Melbourne.

Reigning Australian Open quarter-finalist Andrey Rublev has tested positive for Covid-19 and his travel plans to Melbourne for the 2022 edition are in jeopardy.

Russia’s world No. 5 won this month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, which appears to be quickly becoming a superspreader event for the virus.

Rublev beat Andy Murray in the final but the Brit has so far avoided the fate of others at the tournament who tested positive.

Murray confirmed on Monday that he had received a third dose of the Covid vaccine, also known as the ‘booster shot’.

Rafael Nadal, Denis Shapovalov, Ons Jabeur and Belinda Bencic have already announced they had Covid-19 after competing at the exhibition event, while Emma Raducanu withdrew before playing in Abu Dhabi.

Nadal suggested he may have contracted the virus at the airport, while Shapovalov’s positive test was confirmed after he arrived in Sydney on Thursday.

Andrey Rublev tested positive for Covid-19 after winning this month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Picture: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
Andrey Rublev tested positive for Covid-19 after winning this month’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Picture: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

“I want to share some news with you. I am currently in Barcelona and unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19,” Rublev said on Twitter.

“I have minimal symptoms. I am in isolation and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors.

“As you know, I am fully vaccinated and was preparing for tournaments – ATP Cup and Australian Open. Now I have to recover and I will go to Melbourne only when it will be safe for everyone.

“I am very upset and concerned about what is happening. Please, take care of yourself and of the people around you. I will return to the court as soon as possible.”

The ATP Cup is due to start on Saturday, with Russia scheduled to start its campaign against Austria on Sunday night.

Russia’s Andrey Rublev still hopes to play in the Australian Open. Picture: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP
Russia’s Andrey Rublev still hopes to play in the Australian Open. Picture: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Rublev was initially hesitant about being vaccinated against Covid, saying he “will not do it” if he had an option because it didn’t “really give you any privilege”.

But the 24-year-old was vaccinated once the Australian Open mandated players had to be inoculated or receive a medical exemption to compete in the grand slam tournament.

“I need to get vaccinated. On the whole, this jab is necessary,” Rublev told Russian news agency TASS in October.

“There were so many illnesses and viruses in the past and there is no other way today without a vaccine.”

Rublev is among the group of young players jostling to one day replace Novak Djokovic at the top of the men’s game.

He also made the quarter-finals at last year’s French Open and the 2017 and 2020 US Opens and won a gold medal in mixed doubles with Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Tilly Werner
Tilly WernerContent producer

Tilly Werner is an emerging talent in the sports journalism world with a particular focus on AFL, Football (Soccer), Basketball and Disability Sports. With a Graduate Diploma in Sports Management (UTS) and a Bachelor of International Studies (UNSW), Tilly’s writing pursuits extend beyond just the game, exploring the stories behind the athletes and their connection to the world around them. Tilly also has a distinguished career in Athletics and currently sits as Executive Director on the Board of NSW Goalball. Influencing her writing style is an extensive career writing for NFP charities, sporting organisations, and the NSW Parliament. Tilly is currently writing and producing for CODE Sports at News Corp Australia.