The top-seeded women’s doubles team has been pulled from competition at the U.S. Open after one of the players came in contact with a third player who tested positive for COVID-19, tournament organizers announced Saturday.
The U.S.Tennis Association said in a statement that Kristina Mladenovic of France was identified as having “prolonged close contact” and must be quarantined.
“Public health officials of Nassau County, N.Y., have issued quarantine notices for all individuals who had prolonged close contact to a person who previously tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus,” the statement said. “Mladenovic is one of these individuals, and as the Women’s Doubles competition has begun, the women’s doubles team of Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos has been withdrawn from the US Open.”
The French-Hungarian duo were the No. 1 seed competing for the U.S. Open women’s doubles title and won the Australian Open earlier this year and French Open last year.
Although the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center is located in Queens, New York, the players’ hotel bubble is in Nassau County on Long Island.
The county’s department of health told ABC News that once the contact tracing pointed to an identified close contact, the 14-day quarantine order was issued. The procedure is standard for someone who is temporarily residing in the county.
“It’s a nightmare what we are experiencing here,” Mladenovic said in French earlier in the week, fighting back tears, after she lost in singles competition. “I have only one desire, and that’s to get my freedom back and even that we don’t have yet.”
The announcement of the withdrawal comes one day after French player Adrian Mannarino’s match against Alexander Zverev was delayed for hours after the Frenchman came in contact with fellow French player Benoit Paire.
Following his delayed match, Mannarino said, “The city actually allowed me to play with a new protocol on Sunday. Obviously the State took over this decision to say that I’ve been exposed to a positive case obviously, so I should be quarantined in my room and not be able to go on the tennis court and play the match today.”
He added that after Paire’s positive diagnosis was revealed on Sunday, several players that came in contact with him had to sign a paper from the New York City Health Department agreeing to new protocols for testing. On Friday morning, Mannarino said he heard that some players were being quarantined in their hotel rooms, but didn’t think about any implications for him.
The Nassau County Department of Health would not provide a timeline to ABC News, but said the order was issued once the department was made aware of the contact.
At the time, the USTA said the match “was delayed while a collaborative dialogue with health officials was conducted today.”
The affected players are now forced to stay in their respective hotels until their 14-day quarantine is complete even if their tournaments are over.