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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Wimbledon and the great Covid mess

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On Monday evening, the Wimbledon organization notified Marin Cilic that he was positive for Covid. The next morning came out that of Matteo Berrettini, one of the candidates for the final victory, and at the same time Alize Cornet assured in the newspaper L’Equipe that he does not understand “psychosis” and that a very fat one could be mounted because during the last Roland Garros there was “an outbreak that nobody talked about”. The French added that “a large part of the dressing room was infected” and that if several “key players were discovered to be infected” it would cause a major “fire”. Now, hours later, and given the impact her comments had had, the gala cable colluded: “I said I ‘suspect’ some cases without having evidence. Above all, it should be underlined that the virus is already part of our lives and that we must face it. New paragraph”.

This is how the mess started: Wimbledon, Covid and personal responsibility, to play or not to play? The big fog because some say they don’t know anything, others who are not clear yes but no and there are those who say they heard something in the dressing room and attribute the final decision to the player. The tournament confirms the latter, then it’s up to the tennis player to take the test, to communicate or not whether they have tested positive and ultimately to decide whether or not to compete if the coronavirus has caught them. Berrettini and Cilic, exhausted, decided to leave the table. Particularly noticeable was the decline of the Italian, who ended up in London after winning Stuttgart and Queen’s and had set his sights very high because he actually won the final of last year Main.

“Did you take a test? But if they stop doing tests, right?” wondered Paula Badosa, unaware that the Catalan – faced with Irina Bara (60th in the world rankings) this Thursday – had bid farewell to her teammates from the tournament. “Am I worried about that? No because I’ve passed all existing covid and all colors so I think between the vaccine and everything else I’m more than safe.

In the afternoon, Rafael Nadal, who had been given a good push by the virus in December and who, like so many others, was not entirely clear about it, spoke up. “If you test positive, you’re out,” said the Balearic, who is quoted today (around 4 p.m., Movistar Deportes) as Ricardas Berankis (106th). “This is the information I had a few days ago, but it was wrong because an ATP physiotherapist told me that. I don’t know what the real information is, I don’t know if I was given the log. Maybe it was communicated to us and it happened to me,” said the Mallorquin, who in any case believes that tennis players should not intervene in matters of protocol: “We are not ready to make such decisions. We are tennis players, not health specialists. Those who are ready must take these measures. We can all have an opinion on anything, but that would be a circus.”

Bautista: “I think I would play”

After canceling the tournament in 2020 – for the first time since World War II – and designing a decaffeinated edition a year ago due to restrictions, Wimbledon 2022 has returned to normal. Players, their teams, tournament staff and journalists are free to roam the facilities of the All England Club Tennis & Croquet Club. The great Briton is following the guidelines of the government, which in July 2021 removed all restrictions and delegated citizens’ individual responsibility in the fight against Covid.

A layout that Roberto Bautista particularly likes. “I think it’s perfect that the organization allows the player to decide according to his feelings,” says the player from Castellón, who plays Daniel Galán this Thursday. “It seems this coronavirus thing is over or practically parked. If I had… I don’t know, but I’ve often played with a fever or illness. I think I would play, albeit with precautions for the rest of the players,” he continues, admitting he was given no coordination on what should or should not be done in London.

Before that, the rule was clear in Paris. As confirmed by this newspaper, tennis players could not be forced to undergo the tests due to the requirements of the French federation (FFT) and French law; Yes, in the event that one of them tested positive, he should have notified the Roland Garros organization immediately.

Individual responsibility… and collective

“I don’t remember any cases, I don’t have that information. I hope not to see myself in this situation, but I will act as responsibly as possible,” says Nadal, who refrained from traveling to the US Open two years ago due to insufficient health guarantees. “I don’t want to underestimate the impact of Covid but there are tournaments where a lot of players get food poisoning but we won’t be making a protocol for that. We’ve been with the virus for a long time, there are vaccines… When we’re back to what we were a few months ago, I’ll stop playing,” explained the French Cornet.

Meanwhile, doubts linger in London and Wimbledon are confident that Cilic and Berrettini’s cases are isolated. “I understand you can compete, I heard it in the physio room before the game; If you catch Covid you can enter competitions, they don’t kick you out of the tournament like they used to. I heard it from a player. Apparently, Berrettini and Cilic weren’t doing well and they will surely be screwed. We have to be careful that it doesn’t spread throughout the tournament,” warned Feliciano López, who later admitted: “I don’t really know the rule, whether they could play or not, but I think things are going well. As far as I know there haven’t been many cases in tournaments. I don’t think there was anything weird going on and the players covered it up.”

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