Five players have been withdrawn from the qualifying round of the French Open after two players and a coach tested positive for Covid-19, organisers announced. The qualifiers were scheduled to begin today, September 21, and the main draw will start from September 27.
"The Roland Garros tournament directors can confirm that two players competing in the qualifying tournament have tested positive for Covid-19 and three others have confirmed close contact with a coach who has tested positive for Covid-19," the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said in a statement.
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"In line with tournament health protocols, the five players will not compete in the qualifying tournament and will self isolate for a period of seven days. In total, some 900 tests have been carried out since September 17."
Organisers did not officially reveal the names of the players who tested positive but Bosnian player, Damir Dzumhur withdrew from the tournament, saying his coach Petar Popovi was one of those who tested positive.
"That's why I can't play at Roland Garros and I don't have a chance to compete," Dzumhur wrote on his Instagram account.
"He didn't get a chance to do a second test and we're sure he was false positive because my coach has antibodies," Dzumhur added before saying “he will update [everyone about the status] tomorrow.”
Organisers will also face questions about opening up the event for fans, with tennis players already wondering about the safety of it all. Frenchwoman Alize Cornet playing at the Strasbourg Open, voiced apprehensions about the distancing protocols in place at the event and hoped the French Open organisers would do better.
“I find that here, in Strasbourg, there are too many audiences. I think the players are not comfortable with it,” Cornet said. “The fact that there are people in the stands is not necessarily bad, but these people meet in the aisles with us, ask a lot of photos and autographs from all the players and it’s hard to refuse. I’m glad there is an audience, but I think it could be better separated.”
Cornet highlighted the contradiction in social distancing rules. While the players were locked inside a hotel and had limited social interactions within themselves, they were allowed to rub shoulders with people in the stadium. The French Open has announced that it will limit the spectators to 5,000 for every day of the event.
Italian Open Results
Top seeds Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep made it to the finals of the Italian Open, with limited fans in attendance for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country.
Djokovic beat Norway's Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-3 — in a match where he had a long argument with the line umpire and was charged with a code violation for audibly swearing — and will play Rafael Nadal’s conqueror, Diego Schwartzman in the final, hoping to seal his fifth title in Rome.
Top women's seed Simona Halep also reached her third finals of the Italian Open where she will now face the defending champion Karolina Pliskova.
Halep beat Garbine Muguruza 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 over three gruelling sets of tennis. Pliskova by contrast had an easy straight sts victory over compatriot, Marketa Vondrousova 6-2, 6-4.
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