American tennis player Tennys Sandgren says he was allowed on a flight to Melbourne on Thursday morning despite testing positive for COVID-19.

Sandgren, who was a quarter-finalist at the 2020 Australian Open, said he tested positive for the second time this week, having first tested positive over Thanksgiving in late November.

After testing positive, Sandgren believed he wouldn’t be allowed to board the flight. In a flurry of tweets, the world No.50 said that he might be able to catch another flight the following day, before suddenly informing his followers that he was on the plane destined for the Australian Open.

He credited Craig Tiley, tournament director, for getting him on the flight.

Just as Sandgren seemed to be in the all clear, reports emerged that his flight had been grounded right before take-off. An hour later, it was cleared again.

Tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg reported the update.

The Australian Open has issued a statement amid the concern and confusion, explaining that some people can still test positive to the virus months after first contracting it without being infectious.

“Victorian Government public heath experts assess each case based on additional detailed medical records to ensure they are not infectious before checking in to the charter flights,” the tournament tweeted in response to Sandgren’s thread.

“Players and their teams are tested every day from their arrivals in Australia, a much stricter process than for anyone else in hotel quarantine.”

Sandgren is adamant he has “totally recovered.”

From Thursday evening, around 1200 players, officials, and support staff will land in Melbourne on 15 charter flights.

The passengers will quarantine in three Melbourne hotels – the Grand Hyatt, View Melbourne, and the Pullman Albert Park – for 14 days.

They will be allowed to leave their rooms for up to five hours a day for training and treatment.

The Australian Open 2021 kicks off February 8.

Image: Getty Images / Hannah Peters, Twitter / @TennysSandgren