Players at US Open in uproar over coronavirus crackdown

Players at US Open in uproar over coronavirus crackdown following Benoit Paire’s positive test as tournament organisers are accused of inconsistency

  • Players at the US Open have expressed their frustration at new restrictions
  • Benoit Paire tested positive, which led to him withdrawing from the tournament 
  • Eleven players who came into contact with him have had movements restricted
  • Some others in the bubble have accused the organisers of being inconsistent 

The US Open was struggling to contain the fallout from Benoit Paire’s weekend positive test on Monday night, attracting the charge that they were making up coronavirus rules as they went along.

Eleven players found to have come into contact with the Frenchman were asked to sign new waivers, and given new restrictions on their movement to allow them to continue playing in the event.

This angered some others in the bubble, who accused organisers of inconsistency. Last week, Guido Pella of Argentina and Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien were forced to immediately self-isolate, and pulled out of the relocated Cincinatti Open, after their fitness trainer tested positive.

Players at the US Open are in uproar at new restrictions put in place after Benoit Paire tested positive for coronavirus

The players, mainly men, who have been around Paire have been told that they can now only use individual cars going into Flushing Meadows and they must avoid all fellow participants and communal areas within the bubble. Restrictions extend to them not being allowed to enter any lifts.

Among those traced by the system was one of Monday night’s early winners, Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic, who admitted she is already feeling suffocated by the restrictions after being notified 48 hours previously.

Kristina Mladenovic, who is through to round two, says she feels suffocated by the restrictions

‘I’m allowed to play my matches and literally to do nothing else,’ she said. ‘I don’t know how I’m going to keep going, I’m completely on my own with my coach. Mentally it’s going to be very tough.

‘I practised on the same court and spent maybe 30 or 45 minutes with Benoit. I played cards with a few different people. Apparently it’s because I spent that time at the table. I feel very unlucky. It’s pretty hard to accept.’

The US Tennis Association had planned for the likelihood of some players testing positive and denied that they were making policy up on the hoof in what is a difficult operation to cater for 3,500 people in the tournament bubble.

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