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Coco Gauff will not compete at the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19, the American tennis star tweeted Sunday.
Gauff, 17, was to play in her first Olympic games, becoming the youngest Olympic tennis player since 2000. With Serena Williams opting not to play, she was arguably the biggest name in the U.S. talent pool for the tournament.
Gauff, who ranks No. 25 in the world, wrote:
"I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won't be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future. I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family."
Team USA consists of 15th-ranked Jennifer Brady, Jessica Pegula and 35th-ranked Alison Riske in singles. Pegula, currently ranked 27th in the world, is the daughter of Buffalo Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula. Nicole Melichar and Bethanie Mattek-Sands are the discretionary, doubles-only selections.
There are a maximum of four spots for each country based on the world rankings after the French Open. Williams and Sofia Kenin qualified, but declined spots. Venus Williams, the most decorated Olympic tennis player in history, did not qualify in singles.
Tokyo Olympics begin amid continuing pandemic
Athletes and media members are arriving in Tokyo for the rescheduled Olympics, which are set to begin Friday. There are safety protocols in place to help slow and/or stop the spread of COVID-19 in a country that is largely unvaccinated.
Cases of COVID-19 in Tokyo were up 55 percent on Friday from one week prior. It was the 27th consecutive day of week-over-week increases as the Delta variant takes hold in places around the world. They were at a six-month high earlier in the week.
Athletes from various countries have already run into obstacles trying to get into Japan for the games. Some have gone into isolation following contact tracing from flights. And the Olympic Village experienced its first positive tests Saturday, six days out from from the Opening Ceremony.
Gauff joins a growing list of stars who will not be able to participate in the games after testing positive. USA Basketball announced Thursday that guard Bradley Beal would not play after entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
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