Report: Gasquet among 7 put on tighter protocols

Tennis

NEW YORK — Three players who won matches at the US Open on Tuesday — Richard Gasquet, Gregoire Barrere and Ysaline Bonaventure — and one scheduled to play Wednesday — Kirsten Flipkens — are among the seven entrants placed under stricter COVID-19 protocols after contact with the only athlete to test positive for the coronavirus at the tournament, The Associated Press reported.

After Benoit Paire, a Frenchman seeded 17th, was taken out of the draw Sunday because of his test result, contact tracing determined there were seven players who potentially could have been exposed to the coronavirus.

On Monday, three players from France acknowledged their involvement: Kristina Mladenovic, who is seeded 30th in women’s singles; Adrian Mannarino, seeded 32nd in men’s singles; and Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who is entered in men’s doubles.

The AP obtained the full list, and the others include:

  • Gasquet, a 34-year-old from France who is a three-time Grand Slam semifinalist and eliminated Ivo Karlovic of Croatia 7-6 (0), 7-6 (4), 6-1 in the first round Tuesday night.

  • Barrere, a 26-year-old from France who beat Taro Daniel of Japan in four sets Tuesday to advance to a meeting against No. 10 Andrey Rublev on Thursday.

  • Bonaventure, a 26-year-old from Belgium who beat No. 25 Zhang Shuai of China in three sets on Tuesday.

  • Flipkens, a 34-year-old from Belgium who beat No. 32 Rebecca Peterson of Sweden on Monday and is scheduled to face Jessica Pegula of the U.S. in the second round on Wednesday. Flipkens was a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2013.

The USTA released details of the restrictions placed on players who possibly were exposed, including daily testing by 1 p.m. and access only to a match court or assigned practice court while at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

They can’t use locker rooms or dining areas, and their entourages must wear masks at all times, including during practice and matches.

When the players are at their hotels, they must stay in their rooms and can’t have visitors.

Mladenovic said she had a one-hour practice session with Paire last week — on opposite sides of the net — and was exposed to him for only “35 or 40 minutes” in the hotel, some of it spent playing cards with Paire and others.

Like Mannarino and Roger-Vasselin, Mladenovic was informed Saturday evening that she had been traced to Paire. None of the French players knew whether they would be allowed to compete in the Open.

“Sunday morning, we didn’t know anything yet,” Mannarino told the French sports daily L’Equipe after winning his first match here. “We all slept very badly, but we all supported each other. We knew at noon that we could play, but that there would be a new protocol for us ‘players at risk.’ The new conditions are necessarily quite strict, but it’s important that we are safe, and the other players too. I don’t want to make anyone take risks.”

Added Mladenovic, who has since tested negative on two occasions: “It’s pretty tough for me to accept that thing, because I am not part of his (Paire’s) entourage. But I feel sorry and bad for him for testing positive.”

ESPN’s Peter Bodo contributed to this report.

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