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The Australian Open has been rocked by a fresh Covid-19 blow as Belinda Bencic and Ons Jabeur have joined Rafael Nadal in testing positive for coronavirus after playing an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi. Switzerland’s Bencic and Jabeur of Tunisia played at the World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi last week, as did Nadal.

All three have now tested positive less than a month out from the Australian Open, which starts on January 17.

Bencic lost to Jabeur, who had replaced US Open champion Emma Raducanu after the Briton tested positive for Covid-19 and withdrew from the event. Both Bencic and Jabeur said they were fully vaccinated and were experiencing strong symptoms.

“I am currently isolating and taking all precautionary (measures) to get through this as best as possible as I am experiencing quite severe symptoms (fever, aches, chills),” Bencic said on Twitter.

“While the timing is not ideal – as I was in the final stages of my preparations for the Australian Open swing – I will make my way to Australia as soon as I am cleared and past the isolation period.” The Australian Open begins on Jan. 17.

Jabeur said she was also experiencing “strong symptoms” and isolated in Tunisia. The spate of positive cases is sure to be a concern for Tennis Australia officials less than a month from the first grand slam of the year.

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India today

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