Tennis player Frances Tiafoe has tested positive for the coronavirus right after playing an exhibition match at a tournament organised by U.S. player John Isner.
The world No.81’s positive test came after he said he hadn’t ‘been feeling the best’ for several days prior to his victory over Sam Querry at the All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, Georgia - where COVID-19 cases have been spiking.
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The 22-year-old is now in quarantine, but matches continue to be played.
“Unfortunately, I tested positive late Friday for COVID-19 and have to withdraw from the All-American Team Cup special event this weekend,” Tiafoe wrote on Twitter.
“Over the past two months, I have been training in Florida and tested negative there as recently as a week ago.”
Isner came under fire prior to the tournament starting, labelling those warning him against organising a tournament in the midst of the global pandemic ‘coronabros’.
The coronavirus has claimed the lives of nearly 130,000 people in America alone.
“You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner,” he said on the eve of the tournament.
Predictably, much of the tennis world has not looked favourably on Isner’s comments.
Probably explains why Tiafoe was struggling so much in the heat as he beat Querrey yesterday: “I haven’t been feeling the best the last couple of days.” pic.twitter.com/u2K1vFbjO8— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) July 4, 2020
The saga comes weeks after world No.1 Novak Djokovic and several other top flight players returned positive tests after attending the Adria Tour, which was subsequently cancelled.
Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troick all tested positive for the virus after the event.
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Veteran tennis writer Ben Rothenberg was highly critical of the Isner-organised All-American Team Cup going ahead, despite the ever-worsening pandemic.
“Not only have players been testing positive at these mid-pandemic exhibitions, they’ve been playing while symptomatic. Yikes,” he wrote on Twitter.
“Also, if positive tests are leaking this quickly from an event as low-stakes as “The DraftKings All-American Team Cup,” imagine what the rumors are going to be like when tennis tries to hold Grand Slams mid-pandemic.
“Mess on mess on mess.”
So Tiafoe tests positive to Covid19 in Atlanta and the tournament continues. Thoughts?— ivo karlovic (@ivokarlovic) July 4, 2020
He wasn’t feeling well but continued to play. How can these players be trusted?— Amber (@AmberRajen) July 4, 2020
When both common sense and logic go out the window, Someone with some influence and authority needs to step up and say what’s going on just needs to stop.Sure everyone wants a pay day but this is poor leadership all round. “ safety first “ RIGHT!!! https://t.co/1YOjZmZcow— Mahesh Bhupathi (@Maheshbhupathi) July 4, 2020
Incredibly, tournament organisers have not made any call to cancel or postpone the tournament despite Tiafoe’s positive test.
“Tiafoe has left the event site and will not participate in the remainder of the event. We will continue to diligently enforce all guidelines from local health officials,” a tournament statement read.
“Following his match (a win against Sam Querrey), he was showing symptoms and was retested and tested positive.
“Upon learning this information, we immediately began deep cleaning and sanitising the event site, and enacted protocols in place for contact tracing and alerting individuals who may have been exposed.”