Andy Murray is fuming over his Australian Open absence given where he’s convinced he caught COVID-19.

Andy Murray is fuming over his Australian Open absence – more so given that he’s convinced he caught COVID-19 at the Lawn Tennis Association’s National Tennis Centre in the midst of lax biosecurity efforts.

Murray, a three-time Grand Slam event winner, was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open after testing positive for coronavirus last month.

He said that the National Tennis Centre – in Roehampton, south-west London – was the only place that he could possible have caught COVID-19.

“I couldn’t have picked it up anywhere else because I hadn’t left my house or the NTC for 10 weeks, and then obviously there were some positive cases there,” Murray said.

“I certainly couldn’t have picked it up from my family because they were all negative.

“My wife tested negative, my whole family tested negative, so I was isolating in my room at home for five days because I didn’t want my family to get it, if possible.

“But then five or six days later my wife tested positive, then a few days after that the kids tested positive, so the whole family got it in the end. That’s how I know obviously where I picked it up.”

Murray will play a Challenger event in Italy this week rather than the Australian Open. He said that biosecurity standards at the NTC had clearly slipped around the end of last year, despite the UK’s ongoing battle to contain COVID-19.

“When we went to the NTC in April, if there are six indoor courts, you could only practise on one, three and five. There wasn’t any testing at that time but the gym was closed and it was restricted access,” Murray said.

“Whereas after Christmas, you have an indoor venue where they are using all six courts, there were tonnes of people in the gym and it was just totally different.

“Now it’s kind of back to what it was in April, which is good. It’s a completely different building. All the communal areas are severely restricted, like the lunch hall; there’s probably seven or eight seats maximum in there now, before there would have been 30 to 40.

“But the reality is that it happened too late because there were quite a number of cases between Christmas, New Year and the players going off to Australia.”

Murray said that he was “pissed off” with the manner of his infection, having been extremely careful leading up to the new season. While an LTA statement claimed that “stringent and appropriate restrictions” had applied at the NTC, the BBC reported concerns over lax social distancing and mask wearing.

“The only two places I went to were the National Tennis Centre and my house, so I know where I got it from. I am very comfortable with how I conducted myself,” Murray said.

“My family are OK, I was pissed off that I missed the tournament and wasn’t able to go to Australia from a personal perspective, but then the wider more important point, is that it’s not just about a tennis tournament, when I am going back and giving the virus to all of my family and infecting them. I care about that a lot.

“And I don’t think people always realise that if you’re not sticking to what the rules and the protocols are, or the protocols that are in place are not good enough, you’re putting people in serious danger. It’s frustrating.”

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