The U.S. Open Has Become a Mess Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic

After one player tested positive, the rules changed once again for the U.S. Open

US Open logo
The shadow of a line judge is seen on a canvas at the 2017 US Open Tennis Tournament on August 30, 2017 in New York.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / AFP via Getty Images

Though the U.S. Open prepared for this year’s tournament with a handful of precautions and protocols, one positive coronavirus test result has thrown one of tennis’s Grand Slams into disarray. After 31-year-old French player Benoit Paire tested positive two days before the start of the tournament, things escalated quickly and now a handful of players are being quarantined due to changing rules and involvement from Nassau County health officials.

According to a report from The New York Times, Paire was contact traced and it was found that he had consistent contact with seven players during a card game at one of the Long Island hotels that were housing the competitors of the tournament. That’s when health officials of the county got involved, treating the players like any other person who had tested positive.

That meant that the players have to be quarantined until Saturday, September 12, leaving their status in the tournament up in the air. Already, the U.S. Open had to eliminate the best women’s doubles team of Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos, because Mladenovic was part of that fateful card game with Paire.

The involvement of Nassau County health officials is a new wrinkle for a tournament that already has had to scramble to deal with Paire’s positive test. According to the Times report, the U.S. Tennis Association did not expect that involvement, but they decided to comply, as their protocols are dictated by government officials.

For her part, Mladenovic was distraught by the decision and the enforced quarantine, saying after she lost her singles match on Wednesday that “I have only one desire, and that’s to get my freedom back, and even that we don’t have yet.” In the meantime, her doubles elimination due to coronavirus sends shockwaves through the tournament, because if a top seed can be sent home due to contact tracing, anyone can.

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Read the full story at The New York Times

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