Five players out of French Open qualifying due to COVID-19

In this file photo taken on May 29, 2019 fans watch on a giant screen outside a court during the men's singles second round match between Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas and Bolivia's Hugo Dellien on day four of The Roland Garros 2019 French Open tennis tournament in Paris. (AFP)
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Updated 21 September 2020

Five players out of French Open qualifying due to COVID-19

  • The qualifiers will begin later on Monday, with the main draw set to commence on Sept. 27

PARIS: Five players have been withdrawn from the French Open qualifying tournament after two players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19, organizers have said.
The qualifiers will begin later on Monday, with the main draw set to commence on Sept. 27.
“The Roland Garros tournament directors can confirm that two players competing in the qualifying tournament have tested positive for COVID-19 and three others have confirmed close contact with a coach who has tested positive for COVID-19,” the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said in a statement.
“In line with tournament health protocols, the five players will not compete in the qualifying tournament and will self isolate for a period of seven days. In total, some 900 tests have been carried out since Sept. 17.”
Organizers did not reveal the names of those who had been pulled out but Damir Dzumhur said he had been withdrawn because his coach Petar Popović had returned a positive test.
“That’s why I can’t play at Roland Garros and I don’t have a chance to compete,” he wrote on his Instagram account.
“He didn’t get a chance to do a second test and we’re sure he was false positive because my coach has antibodies,” added the Bosnian, who reached the third round in Paris in 2015 and 2018.
The French Open will be held from Sept. 27-Oct. 11 after being moved from its usual late May-June slot.
The FFT is planning to allow 5,000 spectators per day following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. It had previously said the claycourt major would permit a maximum of 11,500 fans per day. 


Valtteri Bottas on pole at Imola with Lewis Hamilton alongside

Updated 31 October 2020

Valtteri Bottas on pole at Imola with Lewis Hamilton alongside

  • Bottas pips Hamilton to pole at Imola as Mercedes lock out front row
  • Champions can clinch seventh constructors' title in a row

IMOLA: Valtteri Bottas powered to pole position for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola on Saturday with the Finn's team mate and Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton locking out the front row for dominant Mercedes.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen qualified third, after a power unit scare in the second phase sent mechanics scrambling to fix his car, with AlphaTauri's Pierre Gasly a stunning fourth on the grid.
Mercedes need only a fourth place finish in Sunday's race to secure a record seventh successive constructors' world championship.
The pole, with a time of one minute 13.609 seconds, was a 13th in 13 races this season for the champions.
Sunday's race will be the first grand prix at Imola since 2006, with the track returning to flesh out a calendar ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the third in Italy this season.
"This track, when you push flat out, it's beautiful. I knew I had to improve in the last lap and I found those small gains that were needed," said Bottas, who was 0.097 quicker than Hamilton.
"It's a great feeling when you get those.
"It's going to be a good fight. It's one of the longest runs in the calendar into Turn One so no doubt Lewis and Max will be chasing me, but it's a good place to start and hopefully the pace is good."
Hamilton leads Bottas by 77 points, having won eight times so far this season, and is closing on a record-equalling seventh drivers' title although he will have to wait at least until Turkey in two weeks' time for a chance to clinch it.
"Valtteri did a great job. It was a pretty poor lap from myself. These things happen, you can't always get it perfect," said Hamilton, who had been quickest after the first flying laps in phase three.