(Melbourne) Two players were kicked out of the men’s qualifying round ahead of the Australian Tennis Open in Doha, Qatar and quarantined in a hotel after testing positive for COVID -19.
Fourth seed of the qualifying table of the United States Denis Kudla was withdrawn from the tournament following his 6-4, 6-3 victory over Morocco’s Elliot Bentchetrit in a first-round duel.
Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo had taken the measure of Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 6-2, 6-4, before being excluded from the competition.
In an official statement, Tennis Australia confirmed that there had been two positive results at the tournament. The two men were transferred to a government hospital-hotel, where strict containment measures have been put in place, the statement said.
Tennis Australia added that the tournament’s doctor and medical team were monitoring each of the two players, and that searches were underway to notify people who may have been in close contact with the players.
These withdrawals mean, moreover, that the Australian Dane Sweeny and the Spaniard Mario Vilella Martinez automatically advance to the third round of qualifying.
According to Australian media reports, the match officials were told of Kudla’s positive test as the American led 5-3 in the second set. They would have decided to wait for the two players to switch sides, at the end of the next game, to notify them.
Kudla broke her rival’s serve and won the match. If there had been no break in service at this precise moment, the game would have been abandoned after the ninth game of the second set and Benchetrit would have reached the next round.
The Australian Open has already been pushed back by three weeks and will begin on February 8 due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.