The St. Petersburg Open has confirmed that Sam Querrey and his family left Russia following their positive tests for coronavirus, saying they repeatedly refused visits by a tournament doctor and broke ATP rules.
Following initial testing upon arriving for the tournament October 7, they then tested positive on October 11, confirmed by repeat testing that same day.
In a statement, the tournament claimed that as advised by local health authorities, it arranged for a doctor and a pediatrician from a private clinic to visit Querrey, his wife Abby, and their eight-month-old son, all of whom had tested positive and were in isolation at a top St. Petersburg hotel.
The tournament said starting October 12, there were "two attempts... to no avail, as the sportsman never opened the door of his hotel room." Conversations between Querrey and tournament officials were apparently not productive.
The tournament also said that local health authorities advised that if the three were asymptomatic, they should be moved into private apartments, and the organizing committee had arranged "premium-style apartments" for them.
Full statement in English from the organizing committee of the St. Petersburg Open about Sam Querrey: pic.twitter.com/k1MTqs2aM0— Max Gao (@MaxJGao) October 15, 2020
According to an account on social media by Ben Rothenberg, who writes for the New York Times, Querrey's understanding was that they could be ordered hospitalized if they had symptoms of illness, prompting them to leave the country using a private jet.
49th-ranked Sam Querrey entered the ATP 500 St. Petersburg, and was slated to face second-seeded Denis Shapovalov in the first round of the main draw.— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) October 14, 2020
Before that match, however, Sam tested positive for coronavirus.
So, too, did Sam's wife, Abby, and eight-month-old son, Ford.
The story first appears to have been broken by the website Buenos Aires Tennis, which said yesterday that Querrey had left St. Petersburg following his positive test.
Escándalo en San Petersburgo: Sam Querrey se escapó del torneo con covid y es buscado por la ATP.https://t.co/qwE8oqUAOc— BATennis (@BATennisCom) October 14, 2020
They are now in another country in the same region, added Rothenberg, but have not notified health authorities there.
The incident broke ATP rules, said the tournament.
"A repeat test was scheduled for Thursday, October 15," it said. "Sam Querrey... as the hotel’s security cameras identified... left the hotel together with his family at 5:45 a.m. on October 13."
According to Sport Illustrated's and Tennis Channel's Jon Wertheim, the tour said it was taking the breach "extremely seriously" because the ability of tournaments and the tour to function could be affected if players were not following protocols.
“The ATP is aware of an incident regarding a player's serious breach of protocol relating to COVID-19 at this week’s St. Petersburg Open” pic.twitter.com/ZatxI4qym3— Jon Wertheim (@jon_wertheim) October 14, 2020
Fellow player Alexander Zverev, who has been previously criticized for a refusal to quarantine following this summer's Adria Tour exhibition and for playing with coronavirus-like symptoms at Roland Garros, called Querrey's move "not very clever" while speaking to press at the ATP event in Cologne.
Asked Zverev (???????? parents) about Querreys escape (explained what happened cc @BenRothenberg )— Jannik Schneider (@schnejan) October 15, 2020
"???????? image in media is not that well in the US. I was in St. Petersburg '16. Its not that bad as you might think. I guess he will get in trouble with ATP now. Was not really clever" pic.twitter.com/vckO4nfjgA
There was similar controversy when Novak Djokovic and Zverev left Croatia following positive tests among other players during the Djokovic-organized Adria Tour, though it was not apparent whether government rules required them to quarantine or stay in the country. It is also not apparent whether Querrey broke government rules in leaving Russia, though it appears he was in violation of ATP requirements, and St. Petersburg officials have suggested he was in required isolation.
There has been similar controversy in other sports following positive tests, with soccer's Cristiano Ronaldo also under scrutiny this week for traveling between countries.
Querrey is still entered in events in the next few weeks, pending investigation. The ATP could impose fines or a lengthy suspension.
We will continue to update this developing story.