In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, big events like Grand Slams are bound to get caught up in problems and controversy. And that has been the case for this year's French Open even before the players have stepped on to the court for the qualification rounds.
Five players, including Damir Dzumhur, have been withdrawn from the qualifying rounds of Roland Garros this week. Four of those players tested positive for COVID-19, and one player had a member of his coaching staff contract the virus.
But Damir Dzumhur, the player whose coach tested positive, feels hard done by with his withdrawal. His coach has now come out and claimed that the treatment would have been different had the same thing happened to a player like Rafael Nadal.
Damir Dzumhur's coach hits out at preferential treatment given to players like Rafael Nadal
Damir Dzumhur's coach Petar Popovic tested positive for the virus earlier this week, which has led the Bosnian to be eliminated from the draw. Popovic has widely criticised the move and claimed that lower ranked players don't get the same treatment as former champions such as Rafael Nadal.
"I'm sure if it had happened to a bigger player he would have had the opportunity to prove that it's not a fake," said Popovic. "I think if Rafael Nadal was in our situation, he would be entitled to a second or third test to verify. So we're really disgusted with what's happening to us. We leave with a bitter taste. Damir was just outside the final draw, two or three places outside."
The coach has also claimed that a test can be a false positive, as he had the virus way back in July. Popovic has, however, not been given the chance to get tested again, and he claims that this has hurt his player more than others given that Damir Dzumhur missed the main draw by just a few places.
"Damir Dzumhur had just played two very good matches in Rome and I thought he could come out of the qualifying round. But there you go. I will be retesting tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and I'm sure I'll be negative," asserted Popovic.
Players like Rafael Nadal and Simona Halep have expressed wariness of the global situation, which was a factor in why they chose not to travel to the US Open last month. That tournament had its own issues with the virus after Benoit Paire tested positive and was eliminated from the main draw, leading to 11 players being put into full isolation at Flushing Meadows.Published 21 Sep 2020, 16:45 IST