Wimbledon officials are reportedly worried about a wider Covid-19 outbreak after former finalists Marin Cilic and Matteo Berrettini were forced to withdraw from the tournament on Tuesday.
Berrettini, who was runner-up to Novak Djokovic at the grass-court grand slam in 2021, announced the devastating news on Instagram on Tuesday night.
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"I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from Wimbledon due to a positive Covid-19 test result," the World No.11 posted.
"I have had flu symptoms and been isolating the last few days.
"Despite symptoms not being severe, I decided it was important to take another test this morning to protect the health and safety of my fellow competitors and everyone else involved in the tournament.
"I have no words to describe the extreme disappointed I feel. The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger. Thank you for the support."
It was the second high-profile withdrawal in the space of 24 hours after 2017 finalist Cilic also announced he had Covid.
In a scary prospect for Djokovic and Nadal, Cilic and Berrettini had been practicing with the tennis greats in the lead-up to Wimbledon.
Djokovic shared a practice hit with Cilic before the tournament began, while Nadal did likewise with Berrettini.
Berrettini then posed for a selfie with Nadal while also coming into contact with Djokovic.
According to reports, organisers are now considering a change to testing protocols.
Under the current rules in the UK, players are only required to test if they have symptoms.
First Marin Cilic and now Matteo Berrettini have withdrawn from Wimbledon after testing positive for the coronavirus
Two former finalists out before play begins. Wimbledon has a problem, which could get bigger pic.twitter.com/K9sxrV2SyU
— Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 (@christophclarey) June 28, 2022
To make sure no more double exit like Serena and Mannarino in 1st round: Wimbledon started Center Court practice.
4 guys participated on day one- Cilic, Berrettini, Nadal and Djokovic.
2 of them are already out.🤐😅
📸@theslicestephen & Matteo IG pic.twitter.com/7RMwC3v2TZ
— Llama Says ☄🌠🚀 (@funnyzeitgist) June 28, 2022
— Not Rafael Nadal 🇫🇷🌱 (@RaphaelDabadie) June 28, 2022
Nadal hasn't made the final of Wimbledon since 2011!!
Cilic was a finalist in 2017 & Berrettini in 2021. Both in Nadals half of the draw, both Nadals biggest threats on grass & both withdrawn from Wimbledon with Covid!!
U literally can't make this stuff up!!
— Reggie🐺🐊 (@Reggie61823972) June 28, 2022
Cilic and Berrettini are setting an amazing example of how to put other people’s health first. They immediately got tested and withdrawn even if they only have mild symptoms.. hope some certain players could learn something!
— Omnni (@omnni88) June 28, 2022
Rafa Nadal feeling fine despite Matteo Berrettini news
Addressing the situation on Tuesday after his first-round win, Nadal said he is 'feeling great'.
"It's difficult to be a close contact when you are outside, when you are practising," Nadal.
"For the moment I am feeling great, no problems at all. The main thing is I feel very sorry for him because he was playing fantastic, winning two tournaments before the tournament starts."
Nadal said he had been told by a physio from the ATP tour that it was up to individual players to decide whether they tested or not.
"Now if you tell me even if you are positive, you can keep playing, this is something I didn't know," he said.
"The only thing I used to know is up to you, even if you feel bad, if you want to be tested or not."
The All England Club said in a statement that protocols remained in place to minimise the risk of infection.
"We are following UK guidance around assessment and isolation of any potential infectious disease," the statement said.
"Our player medical team also continue to wear face masks for any consultation."
French player Alize Cornet added to questions over the health protocols in tennis by saying there had been an "epidemic of Covid" at the recent French Open but "nobody talked about it".
Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, while the 2021 edition was run at reduced capacity with players confined to a bubble.
Cornet claimed that at Roland Garros earlier this month there had been an "epidemic" of coronavirus.
"In the locker room, everyone had it and we said nothing," said Cornet.
"I saw girls wearing masks, perhaps because they knew and did not want to pass it on."
Hours later, Cornet walked back her claims, writing on social media that she only "suspected a few cases of Covid during Roland Garros, without having any proof".
"It was above all to emphasise that the virus was now part of our lives and that we had to deal with it."
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