Up to 600 Australian Open tennis players and staff to go into isolation after 1 COVID case

One COVID-19 case at a Melbourne quarantine hotel has caused up to 600 tennis players and staff to go into isolation until they receive a negative test result, four days out from the Australian Open beginning.

Why it matters: The first case in the state of Victoria for 28 days has resulted in new restrictions implemented and the cancelation of all of Thursday’s scheduled warm-up games.

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Driving the news: A 26-year-old volunteer firefighter, who’d been working with the Open as a resident support officer at the Grand Hyatt hotel, tested negative for the coronavirus while at the end of his shift Jan. 29, but later developed symptoms, state Premier Dan Andrews announced late Wednesday.

For the record: Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told reporters the “intention is to start the Australian Open on Monday” as scheduled and that “lead-up events were also planned to be completed.”

Of note: While it’s unclear which players were affected by the isolation order, tennis stars Serena Williams and Novak Djokic won’t have to isolate as they spent their 14-day mandatory quarantine in the South Australian city of Adelaide.

Flashback: Djokovic was among a group of tennis players who last month sent a letter demanding Victorian authorities ease strict quarantine rules for players ahead of the season-opening tennis major’s Feb. 8. start.

The big picture: Melbourne had one of the world’s longest lockdowns, with restrictions in place on the city of 5 million for 139 days before being lifted last October.

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