US tennis star Sam Querrey faces backlash after family flees Russia in private jet following coronavirus diagnosis

Danielle Zoellner
·3-min read
US tennis player Sam Querrey tested positive for coronavirus with his wife and eight-month-old son while in Russia for the St Petersburg Open (Getty Images)
US tennis player Sam Querrey tested positive for coronavirus with his wife and eight-month-old son while in Russia for the St Petersburg Open (Getty Images)

American tennis player Sam Querrey has fled Russia in a private jet with his wife and son after they all tested positive for the coronavirus and were placed in isolation by government authorities.

Mr Querrey was in St Petersburg for the St Petersburg Open, but he, his wife, and eight-month-old son tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, just one day before the main draw play started. When they arrived in the country four days prior, they all tested negative.

After testing positive, the tennis player and his family were asked to isolate together in a hotel room.

Watch: Can you catch Covid-19 twice?

Doctors then attempted to examine the family on Monday but Mr Querrey did not open the door for them, saying his baby son was sleeping, the St Petersburg Open wrote in a statement. He and his family then left the hotel prior to the second scheduled examination on Tuesday.

“Sam Querrey, as the hotel’s security cameras identified, left the hotel together with his family at 5:45am on 13 October without informing the reception service. As Querrey told an ATP representative, he left Russia with his family on a private plane,” the tournament said.

New York Times reporter tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg detailed the series of events that led to Mr Querrey and his family fleeing Russia in a lengthy Twitter thread.

“Sam received an unexpected call from someone with the Russian health authorities who said the family would be visited by a doctor, and if they were found to have symptoms they could be forced to be hospitalised,” Mr Rothenberg reported.

“The Querrey’s, who were experiencing what they considered mild symptoms, feared any or all being hospitalised in Russia, especially so given that they were travelling with their eight-month-old son, from whom they did not want to be potentially separated in a foreign country,” he added.

Mr Querrey, who has previously worn patches from a private jet sponsor, then reportedly arranged for a private jet to take his family out of Russia.

The family sat “in the back of their hired jet so as to keep as distant as possible from pilots”, Mr Rothenberg reported. They were dropped off in a “nearby European country” that required no negative coronavirus test for entry.

The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) said it was investigating an incident from the tournament in a statement, but Mr Querrey was not mentioned.

“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,” the tour said.

“Adhering to health and safety protocols is critical to ensure events take place safely and within the guidelines established by local authorities. Players and their support team members are reminded that breaches of protocol can jeopardize an event’s ability to operate and have repercussions on the rest of the Tour. In accordance with ATP’s Code of Conduct, we are taking this matter extremely seriously and an investigation is underway.”

If the tennis star is found in major breach of protocol, he could face up to an $100,000 fine and/or three year suspension.

Mr Querrey currently ranks 49th in the world.

Watch: What is long Covid?

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