Frances Tiafoe Tests Positive For COVID-19 At DraftKings All-American Team Cup - UBITENNIS
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Frances Tiafoe Tests Positive For COVID-19 At DraftKings All-American Team Cup

The announcement comes after a day he played his first match at the tournament

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Organisers of the All-American Cup in Atlanta have suffered a huge blow after it was confirmed that one player has tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday.

 

Frances Tiafoe has confirmed that he has contracted the virus following a test done late last night. Making it the first case of COVID-19 among players at a tournament outside of Europe. The announcement comes after he withdrew from the event with what was first assumed to be injury-related. Tiafoe required a medical timeout during the second set of his match against Sam Querrey.

“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,” the world No.81 said in a statement.
“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.”

Reports of a COVID-19 case at the event started to circulate on Saturday morning when British player Tara Moore tweeted that she had heard ‘from a couple of players’ that somebody had tested positive in Atlanta. Moore is a member of the newly formed ITF World Tennis Tour Player Panel.

In a statement issued by the organisers of the All-American Cup, they confirmed that Tiafoe was showing symptoms of the virus following his match before later testing positive. Although they didn’t specify as to what his symptoms are. The tournament will still continue with Tiafoe being replaced in the draw by Christopher Eubanks.

“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,” tournament director Eddie Gonzalez said in a statement.
“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 the assurances, said by Gonzalez, 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.

A rise in cases

The All-American Cup is a team tournament which features the eight highest ranked American players on the ATP Tour. Held at  Life Time Fitness in Peachtree Corners, 450 people are allowed to attend the event daily. Which equates to roughly 30% of the stadium’s maximum capacity.

There has recently been concerns about opening the event up to the public due to the rise in cases in the region. Georgia, which is the state Atlanta is in, has seen the number of new cases increase by more than 50% over the past week based on information obtained by the John Hopkins University. Meanwhile, 1,400 Georgia healthcare workers have signed a petition sent to the state’s governor asking for stricter measures to be implemented to help stop the spread.

“I just think it’s an unnecessary risk right now,” world No.225 Noah Rubin told Front Row Sports about the event earlier this week. “If you weigh the pros and cons, and when I do it quickly in my head, it doesn’t add up. What are we gaining from taking this risk right now? Numbers [of COVID-19 cases] are going in the wrong direction. You have Georgia being one of those states that’s highly affected by a spike. It just doesn’t really make sense when I put it all together.”

John Isner, who is the country’s highest ranked player, has previously hit back at concerns over the Atlanta event. Saying to a series of Twitter users ‘You coronabros can stay in your basement all you want. I choose to live my life and play/promote the sport I love in a safe manner.” In a separate tweet Isner said that he was not downplaying the seriousness of the virus. Although he did like one tweet which said ‘the virus is much less lethal than the first models predicted.’

Isner was one of three players on Team Stripes to score wins on the first day of the tournament along with Tennys Sandgren and Steve Johnson. As for Team Stars, their only victory was thanks to Tiafoe, who downed Sam Querrey in straight sets.

Tiefoe is the latest top player to have tested positive as the sport nears it return to competitive tennis. Recently the Adria Tour was scrapped following an outbreak during the Zadar leg in which Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Novak Djokovic among others got infected. Meanwhile, at the Eastern European Championships two players tested positive just over a week ago.

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Hubert Hurkacz Aims To Build On Delray Beach Triumph

The best way to start the season for the world No.35.

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Hubert Hurkacz (image via https://twitter.com/DelrayBeachOpen)

Poland’s Herbert Hurkacz says he hopes to play at an even higher level over the coming weeks after winning the Delray Beach Open title on Wednesday.

 

The world No.35 eased to a 6-3, 6-3, win over Sebastian Korda in the final to claim only the second title in his career after Winston Salem back in 2018. Hurkacz, who was the fourth seed in the tournament, didn’t drop a set all week en route to becoming the first Polish player in history to win the title. In the final he won 68% of his service points and broke Korda four times overall.

“It feels great. It is great to win the title and I am so happy about that. This Is a great start to the season,” Hurkacz said afterwards.
“I am happy that I am improving and we (my team) are doing good stuff with C.B (coach Craig Boynton), and things are working. So I am really pleased with this result.”

The 23-year-old is hoping to improve on what was a challenging 2020 season for him. After reaching the semi-finals of the Auckland Open in January last year, he could only win back-to-back matches in two out of his next 12 tournaments prior to Delray Beach. His best Grand Slam result was reaching the third round of the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

Seeking to break new territory in 2021, Hurkacz will today start his 24-hour journey to Australia which begins with a 5am departure from America this morning. His coach Craig Boynton also currently worked with Steve Johnson and previously mentored Jim Courier.

“It’s the beginning of the season and I still need to work on a couple of things, but I hope I can play even better in Australia,” Hurkacz stated.

Hurkacz is only the second Polish player to have won an ATP Tour title in the Open Era after Wojciech Fibak. At present he is the only player from his country ranked inside the top 100 on the Tour.

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Cristian Garin Out Of Australian Open Following Fall

The South American tennis star will not travel to Melbourne due to both injury and the travel restrictions implemented.

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Chile’s Cristian Garin has become the third top 30 player to pull out of the men’s draw at next month’s Australian Open.

 

The world No.22 has confirmed that he will not be travelling to the Grand Slam after suffering a fall in which he hurt his wrist a week ago. Announcing his decision on Instagram, Garin said the limitations in place at the tournament which wouldn’t allow him to travel with his physio played a factor. This year’s Australian Open is taking place amid strict COVID-19 rules which requires players to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival and limits the number of team members they can bring. The majority of players will be spending their quarantine in Melbourne but the top names will be in Adelaide following a recent deal secured by Tennis Australia.

I am very sad to report that a week ago I suffered a fall, which left me with a lot of pain in my left wrist (sprain),” Garin wrote on his Instagram story. “It has been very difficult for me to play the last days and given the restrictions of the tour, they do not allow me to travel with my physiotherapist, which makes it impossible to find a good recovery. Unfortunately I will not be able to play this year in Australia, which is something very difficult for me to accept. I hope to return in good condition and with the best energy for the tour in South America.”

photo via – https://www.instagram.com/garincris/

Garin kicked-off his season on Saturday at the Delray Beach Open where he was the top seed. However, he lost his opening match in straight sets to Christian Harrison who went on to reach the semi-finals. It is only the second tournament he has played since the French Open in October.

The setback comes after the 24-year-old confirmed that he has started working with Franco Davin back in November. A tennis coach known best for his work with Juan Martin del Potro. Davin has also previously worked with Grigor Dimitrov and Kyle Edmund.

The withdrawal of Garin follows that of Roger Federer and John Isner. Former champion Federer has pulled out due to his ongoing recovery from a right knee injury. Although one Australian Open official believes his decision was due to another factor. Meanwhile, Isner has opted not to travel to Australia because he didn’t want to spend an extended time away from his family.

The Australian Open will start on February 8th.

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Christian Harrison Speaks Out After ATP Fines Him For Not Wearing A Mask

The American says he is against ‘masking people for the sake of it for TV.’

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Christian Harrison (image via https://twitter.com/DelrayBeachOpen)

American tennis player Christian Harrison has said he will appeal a fine issued to him at the Delray Beach Open after he refused to do an on-court interview because he was required to wear a mask.

 

The ATP has slammed the 789th ranked player with a fine of $3000 for refusing to do the mandatory interview. However, Harrison is arguing his case by saying he believed that wearing a mask was optional and has been told by the tournament supervisor he can appeal against the fine. He has previously spoken out against wearing masks after writing last week ‘Healthy enough to play 3 hour matches. But I’m an absolute safety hazard walking maskless through a restaurant.’ On Twitter he also liked a Tweet last month by Political commentator Liz Wheeler who wrote ‘Wear a mask until EVERY person is vaccinated?! Are you insane?’

“Christian Harrison was fined $3,000 for declining the mandatory post-match on-court interview following his second round win over Cristian Garin on Saturday,” the ATP said in a statement.

Arguing his defence Harrison wrote on social media that it is ‘not healthy’ to wear a mask in the sun for longer than necessary after a match. The rule implemented is one of a series that has been taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In America, where Harrison is playing at the Delray Beach Open, the country has recorded more deaths from the virus than any other.

“After my second round match I chose not to do my post match interview due to wearing a mask. It’s not healthy to wear a mask in the hot sun for more time than absolutely necessary after a tough match,” he wrote on Instagram.
“I was given the impression it was optional. I wasn’t told I would be fined. That night I was told it is a requirement for T.V. matches and I would be fined. When I spoke to the supervisor the following morning, I was told since I wasn’t notified that it was mandatory I could appeal the fine and it would be taken away. Unless something changes now I still believe that to be true.”

Refusing to admit any wrongdoing, the 26-year-old says he ‘doesn’t agree’ with masking people for the sake of TV. Although he has stated that he will follow the rules in the future.

“I was required to do a sit down interview after the match with the same person which I agreed to and I did not have to wear a mask for it,” he continues.
“It’s not about safety to wear mask for TV to talk to a microphone with no one around . Playing the tournaments I’ll follow whatever is required even if I don’t agree with it. I don’t support masking people for the sake of it for TV.”

The controversy coincides with Harrison’s fairytale run at the Delray Beach Open this week. On Monday he defeated Gianluca Mager 7-6(2), 6-4, to reach the semi-finals of an ATP tournament for the first time in his career. He did wear a mask during his on-court interview following that win. The breakthrough comes after more than a decade of setbacks for Harrison who has undergone a total of eight surgeries on both legs, both hips, his right wrist, and both adductors.

Harrison will play fourth seed Hubert Hurkacz in the semi-finals.

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