British tennis suffers Covid scare as knee forces Edmund out of Australian Open

In a hectic 24 hours for British tennis, British No. 2 Kyle Edmund was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open while some of his compatriots faced a nervous wait after a positive coronavirus test at the National Tennis Centre (NTC).

Edmund, the world No. 48 from Yorkshire, was forced to withdraw from the first Grand Slam of 2021 due to an ongoing knee issue.

He had ended 2020 on the back of five straight losses – the last of which came against world Taipei’s No. 127 Jason Jung – and he will have to wait before getting a chance to snap that streak this year.

‘Unfortunately my knee is not quite ready to compete in the upcoming Australia swing. I hope to be back competing soon,’ said Edmund.

Meanwhile, a player returned a positive Covid-19 test at the NTC in Roehampton this week, leaving others at the headquarters of British tennis waiting anxiously as contact tracing took place this weekend.

The likes of Andy Murray, Dan Evans and reigning Australian Open doubles champion Joe Salisbury had all been practising in south-west London during the week, however, it’s understood that no player travelling to Australia has been adversely affected by the positive result.

An LTA spokesperson said: ‘An individual using the NTC has returned a positive Covid-19 test result.

‘We have established processes in place for this eventuality and have traced those who have been in contact with the individual, interviewed them and asked them to self-isolate for 10 days.

‘Public Health England have been notified and we are ensuring processes are being followed, including additional deep cleaning, to ensure that the NTC remains a Covid-secure venue.’

Further afield, the British contingent in Doha and Dubai learned their fate for Australian Open qualifying.

Jay Clarke and Liam Broady will take on Taiwan’s Wu Tung-Lin and France’s Constant Lestienne in the first round of men’s qualifying in Doha.

There are three British representatives in women’s qualifying in Dubai,

Francesca Jones takes on Romania’s Monica Niculescu, Nikhita Bains meets France’s Tessah Andrianjafitrimo and Harriet Dart – who came through qualifying to reach the main draw in Melbourne in 2019 meets American Grace Min.

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