Tennis

Covid-19 case in US Open ‘bubble’ not a player

US Open organisers pleased with tournament's line-up despite withdrawals

A positive test for Covid-19 has been found in the New York tennis bubble where the US Open is set to take place later this month, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) announced on Tuesday.

USTA medical officer Bernard Camins revealed that the person who has contracted the virus "is not a player" and is asymptomatic.

The finding comes after 1,400 tests for the disease were conducted since Aug 13 in the "bubble" at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City, where the Cincinnati ATP event and the US Open are to be staged.

Dr Camins said the male individual initially tested negative, but then a second test two days later came up positive. He added that the person's hotel roommate has also been placed under quarantine.

"It would have been nice if he was positive the first time, but the reason we added the second test at 48 hours was to account for the time we couldn't be covering," Dr Camins said.

The US Open, which was rescheduled to start on Aug 31, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led to a host of top players pulling out of the tournament.

Among those not taking part are men's world No. 2 - and last year's champion at Flushing Meadows - Rafael Nadal and the majority of the top 10 from the WTA women's Tour.

Earlier this week, women's world No. 2 Simona Halep became the latest star to skip the Grand Slam, joining world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty and reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu.

Despite the withdrawals, the women's competition will see 10 former Grand Slam champions, including 23-time Major winner Serena Williams, along with 81 of the top 100.

In the men's draw, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and other big names like third-ranked Dominic Thiem and fellow top-10 players Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev are set to feature.

HAPPY WITH PLAYING FIELD

The US Open organisers said on Tuesday that they were happy with the slate of competitors for this year's tournament.

Mike Dowse, CEO and executive director of the USTA, said the field "exceeded our expectations," given the challenges of putting on the event.

"In context of the times and how different the world is, I couldn't be happier," Dowse added.

"We respect the players' decisions at all times. It's up to each player to make that decision.

"I want to remind everyone, this was not a host at all costs. It had to adhere to our three principles. We're confident it has."

Organisers said approximately 90 per cent of players are already in town or in the tournament bubble. - AFP, REUTERS

Tennis