Top Russian tennis player tests positive for COVID-19, Australian Open status in doubt

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Russian tennis star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has tested positive for COVID-19, a situation that may preclude her from participating in the Australian Open starting in mid-January.

The tennis player confirmed that she was isolating in a hotel in Australia on Tuesday.

"I was fully vaccinated and was preparing for the start of the season in Dubai," Pavlyuchenkova said in a social media post on Thursday. "But we live in a very difficult and unpredictable time. Right now I am in complete isolation, in a special hotel and following all the protocols under the supervision of doctors.

"Now it's important to take care of yourself and the health of others. I'll be back on court when it's safe for everyone."

The Australian Open, the first of four Grand Slam championships, is set to take place Jan. 17.

The news comes amid a surge of COVID-19 cases across the world. The surge, in part due to the omicron variant, has forced New Year's Eve celebrations, sporting events, musical guests, theater and event venues to postpone or shut down amid the surge.

The U.S. in particular has seen a severe spike in coronavirus cases driven by both the omicron and delta variants and amid the holiday season.

The NFL, NBA and the NHL have all postponed games and implemented new COVID-19 protocols amid team virus outbreaks.

Pavlyuchenkova, 30, is coming off one of the best seasons in her professional career, making her first Grand Slam final appearance in June, according to The Associated Press.

Pavlyuchenkova also teamed with Andrey Rublev to win mixed doubles gold for Russia at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.