Tennis star's bombshell claim after Wimbledon hit by Covid cases

Alize Cornet says it is likely many Covid-19 cases went unnoticed at the recent French Open.
As Wimbledon is get by Covid-19 cases, French star Alize Cornet says it is likely many cases have accurred throughout the French Open and other tournaments this year. (Photo by Joaquim Ferreira/picture alliance via Getty Images)

French tennis star Alize Cornet says players have adopted a 'tacit agreement' to keep Covid-19 cases on tour quiet unless absolutely necessary.

The 32-year-old's comments come as a number of top players have been forced to withdraw from Wimbledon after receiving positive tests.

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On Monday, Marin Cilic announced he could no longer compete, while a day later Matteo Berrettini suffered the same fate, a cruel twist after he showed supreme form in the lead-up to Wimbledon.

Last month's French Open also saw top women's player Barbora Krejcikova pull out due to a positive test, however Cornet believes the liklihood is much higher that there have been many unreported cases.

The World No.37 said it was not uncommon for players to take to the court showing mild symptoms - a far cry from the rigorous testing regimes and bio-secure bubbles players were required to submit to in order to resume competition back in 2020.

French player Cornet added to questions over the health protocols by saying there had been an "epidemic of Covid" at the recent French Open but "nobody talked about it".

Cornet claimed that at Roland Garros earlier this month there had been an "epidemic" of coronavirus.

"In the locker room, everyone had it and we said nothing," said Cornet.

"I saw girls wearing masks, perhaps because they knew and did not want to pass it on."

Hours later, Cornet walked back her claims and said she only "suspected a few cases of Covid during Roland Garros, without having any proof".

"It was above all to emphasise that the virus was now part of our lives and that we had to deal with it."

While vaccination has greatly reduced the risk of major events, Cornet said many players had been ill at the French Open, though this could have been a regular flu.

"When we see that Krejcikova withdraws saying I have Covid, and that the whole dressing room is sick. At some point we may all have had the flu," she told French sporting outlet L'Equipe.

"The thing is, we have three symptoms. The throat scratching, we play and everything is fine, it's OK.

"In Roland Garros, yes, I think there have been a few cases and it is a tacit agreement between us."

Wimbledon is presently following guidelines from the UK Government, which do not require players to test themselves or even isolate if they do test positive, meaning players have taken any decisions to withdraw as a result themselves.

Wimbledon on edge after Covid cases hit top players

The prospect of altering the rules has not been taken off the table, with fans fearing the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic could also end up having to withdraw due to a positive test.

In a scary prospect for Djokovic and Nadal, Cilic and Berrettini had been practicing with the tennis greats in the lead-up to Wimbledon.

Djokovic shared a practice hit with Cilic before the tournament began, while Nadal did likewise with Berrettini.

Berrettini then posed for a selfie with Nadal while also coming into contact with Djokovic.

According to reports, organisers are now considering a change to testing protocols.

“As a major event we have and continue to work in conjunction with the UK Public Health Security Agency and our Local Authority,” said a spokesperson for the All England Club.

Matteo Berrettini has withdraw from Wimbledon after testing positive for Covid-19 just a day before his first match. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Matteo Berrettini has withdraw from Wimbledon after testing positive for Covid-19 just a day before his first match. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“We have maintained enhanced cleaning and hand sanitising operations, and offer full medical support for anyone feeling unwell.

"We are following UK guidance around assessment and isolation of any potential infectious disease. Our player medical team also continue to wear face masks for any consultation.”

American teenager Coco Gauff feels the current regulations at SW19 are adequate.

"I think for the most part I feel like it's OK that players are doing it themselves," she said.

"I mean, I feel like that's the regulations in the Government now - if you feel symptoms, test.

"That's what I would do. If I felt any Covid symptoms, I would test."

With AAP

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