The tennis player Sam Querrey, his wife and their 8-year-old son are in an undetermined country near the Russian border, after starring in a spectacular escape that would make for a movie.

The American and his family have caught coronavirus during his stay in the Russian city, which has led to a bizarre situation. It all started after the match of number 49 of the ranking against Denis Shapovalov in the first round of ATP 500 St. Petersburg, which the Canadian won. The Querreys were subjected to tests that determined that all three had tested positiveTherefore, following the protocol, they had to comply with a 14-day quarantine at the hotel where they were staying. This was neither more nor less than the Four Seasons, a 5-star hotel of maximum luxury.

What was to be a forced vacation in a golden cage turned into a nightmare when Russian health authorities called to inform them that a doctor had to give them check-ups to avoid complications and that, in case of symptoms, they would be admitted to a hospital. When the tennis player hung up, his soul fell to his feet: all three already had mild symptoms.

A Russian doctor informed them that they would be admitted to a hospital if they had symptoms that, indeed, they had already begun to suffer

In no case did they want to be admitted to a Russian hospital, other than because of their marriage for their son, who would be separated from his parents for an indeterminate time. For an 8-year-old American boy, being separated from his parents in a medical facility in a foreign country, without knowing the language or understanding what is happening, can be a traumatic experience for life.

Faced with this situation, Querrey forgot all the protocols and pulled contacts. He immediately called one of his sponsors, a private jet company, to request that they be immediately evacuated to a country where they would not require a COVID-19 test upon entry.

That same night, they went to a private terminal and, after negotiating with the pilots and assuring them that they were going to keep their distances with them on the flight (they ended up sitting in the back), got them taken to an indeterminate European country, but close to Russia. It is currently housed in a AirBNB, waiting to leave, and with a single objective: that the local health authorities do not locate them to prevent them from being entered into a country, or even extradited to the United States under a charge of trespassing.

Possible penalty from ATP

The ATP is aware of what happened and has issued a statement in which it affirms that Querrey’s flight from Russia implies “a serious breach” of the health protocols they have established, so they have started an investigation to locate him.

Querrey risks a strong economic and sports sanction, which will cost him at least to be banned in the rest of the tournaments in which he was registered in 2020 and possibly a few in 2021. Among others, the tennis player had planned to play the Masters 1000 of Paris-Bercy next November and stay in Europe for a while.

The story has been told by Ben Rothenberg, New York Times journalist and host of the specialized podcast ‘No Challenges Remaining’.