Following a bruising 23-minute, first-set loss, the Australian was trailing 2-1 during a changeover in the second set when he told Brazilian umpire Aline Da Rocha Nocinto that he would test positive for Covid-19 within 48 hours and criticized the tournament’s testing regulations.
“I am sure in the next two days I will test positive, I’m telling you,” Tomic said.
“I will buy you dinner if I don’t test positive in three days, otherwise, you buy me dinner.
“I cannot believe nobody is getting tested. They are allowing players to come on the court with rapid tests in their room … no official PCR testing.”
CNN has reached out to the Australian Open for comment.
A prodigious youngster, Tomic was victorious at the junior Australian Open in 2008 before reaching a career-high world No. 17 rank eight years later, but his rank has since spiraled and the 29-year-old was decisively beaten by Safiullin.
At the end of the game, Tomic bumped fists with both Safiullin and Da Rocha Nocinto before exiting the court.
‘Feeling really sick’
Updating his Instagram followers from his hotel room, Tomic said that he was “feeling really sick.”
“Feeling really sick, I’m now back in my hotel room,” Tomic said.
“Just spoke to the doctors on site and they’ve asked me to isolate. They couldn’t treat me yet to avoid contact.
“Thank you for all the support on the court today. I really appreciate it! I’ll do better next time. Very disappointed as I really wanted to make Aussies proud and perform well on my home turf. Will keep you posted.”
Tomic’s comments on the Australian Open’s Covid protocols come amidst the ongoing saga of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s participation at the tournament.
Yet the unvaccinated 34-year-old could still face deportation as Australia’s immigration minister considers stepping in to remove the tennis player from the country.