There comes a point in every tennis player’s life when he must answer the question: Which Baltic state do I flee to via private jet when faced with the prospect of being not-totally-voluntarily hospitalized by Russian medical authorities?
World No. 49 Sam Querrey came to Russia with his wife and 8-month-old son to play the St. Petersburg Open, and tested negative for COVID-19 on arrival. On October 11, a day before the tournament was set to begin, he and his wife tested positive. Querrey withdrew, and according to tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg, the family was told to quarantine in their hotel—the St. Petersburg Four Seasons—for two weeks, which was fine with them. They then received a phone call informing them that a doctor would be visiting to check their symptoms and, if necessary, hospitalize them.
In a statement, the tournament’s organizing committee said it planned to relocate the Querreys to “premium-class apartments” if they were asymptomatic, but Querrey did not open the door to let a doctor examine the family on October 12, ” justifying his refusal by the fact that his child was sleeping.” The statement also said security camera footage showed the Querreys leaving the Four Seasons at 5:45 a.m. on October 13 without informing reception.
The man, woman, and baby were headed for a jet plane. Rothenberg reported that Querrey “arranged and paid for a private jet to whisk the family across the Russian border,” in which they sat as far from the pilot as possible, and headed to some still-undisclosed location, where they rented an AirBnB. I’m thinking maybe Sweden, which does not require a negative test on entry, but I welcome any other guesses.
Unsurprisingly, the tour is pissed off. Without naming any names, the ATP flagged a “serious breach of protocol” at the St. Petersburg Open and promised to take “the matter extremely seriously,” having apparently discovered that operating an international sports tour during a pandemic can get messy.