The first case of a non-european tennis player testing positive for Covid-19 during an event outside of Europe has been revealed as Florida based Francis Tiafoe.
The world number 81 said in a statement “Unfortunately, I tested positive late Friday for Covid-19 and have to withdraw from the All-American Team Cup special event in Atlanta this weekend,”
“Over the past two months, I have been training in Florida and tested negative as recently as a week ago before travelling to Atlanta. I am scheduled to have a second test early next week, but have already begun the quarantine protocol as advised by the medical staff here in Atlanta. While I’ve been so excited to get back out there, the health and safety of everyone continues to be a top priority.”
Tiafoe first withdrew from the tournament after being tested last Thursday, when it was assumed to be an injury as Tiafoe took a medical timeout during the second set of his match against Sam Querry.
Tournament director Eddie Gonzalez said in a statement:-
“Frances Tiafoe has tested positive for the coronavirus. Like all the players, Tiafoe was tested prior to or upon arrival in Atlanta and has passed daily temperature tests. Following his match, he was showing symptoms and was retested and tested positive,”
First reports of a COVID-19 case at the event began circulating on Saturday morning when Britain’s Tara Moore, who is a member of the newly formed ITF World Tennis Tour Player Panel posted on Twitter that she had heard ‘from a couple of players’ that somebody
had tested positive in Atlanta.
A statement issued by the organisers of the All-American Cup, confirmed that Tiafoe had been displaying symptoms of the virus following his match with Querry before later testing positive.
Despite this setback, the organisers have decided that the tournament will go ahead with Tiafoe being replaced by Christopher Eubanks.
“Tiafoe has left the event site and will not participate in the remainder of the event. Upon learning this information, we immediately began deep cleaning and sanitizing the event site, and enacted protocols in place for contact tracing and alerting individuals who may have been exposed. The health and safety of our event participants, staff and attendees are a top priority, and we will continue to diligently enforce all guidelines from local health officials.”
“Despite those assurances questions remain especially in regards to Tiafoe, who said during his post-match interview on Friday that he hadn’t been feeling well in recent days but still decided to continue playing in the tournament”
This is a huge blow for the tournament, and does not auger well for the organisers of the US Open who’s bold decision, backed by Governor Cuomo, to go ahead with the event on 31 August may need a rethink.