Reports by the French sports daily L’Equipe confirmed that tennis player Benoit Paire tested positive for Covid-19 and has subsequently withdrawn himself from the US Open set to kick off later today.
Paire, the 17th seed, was scheduled to play Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak in the first round at Flushing Meadows but has now been removed from the list of seeds participating in the tournament's website. It says now that Majchrzak will play Spain’s Marcel Granollers instead.
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Last week, at the Western and Southern Open — which served as a warm up for teh Grand Slam — Paire was unable to complete his first round match against Borna Coric. The 31-year old felt unwell during the match, called for a doctor and retired from the match when it was 6-0, 1-0.
According to the L’Equipe, French players Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino, Gregoire Barrere and Edouard Roger Vasselin have also been asked to self-isolate themselves in their hotel rooms after Paire tested positive for the virus.
The US Open is being held within a biosecure bubble without spectators in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. Many players have pulled out from the tournament due to virus related concerns. Many others from Europe have decided to not travel to New York seeing as the number of cases in the United States refuses to abate.
Dominic Thiem, the World No. 3, while addressing Paire’s test, also remained positive about the safety of players at the tournament. "There is no safer place in the world right now than here," Thiem said. “Maybe you can lock yourself somewhere in a cave or something, I don't know, in the middle of the sea. Otherwise it's super safe here.”
"Still something can happen, as you could see with Benoit. We hope that nobody else is infected.”
A United States Tennis Association (USTA) spokesperson revealed that around 7,000 tests for Covid-19 have been conducted by the USTA as part of its controlled environment for the tournament and Paire is the second person to test positive for the virus.
Paire, ranked 22 in the world has won three ATP titles in his career and reached a career best fourth round at the US Open in 2015.
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