Tennis News

Tennis-Zverev plays with fever and cough in French Open defeat

PARIS, Oct 4 (Reuters) - German Alexander Zverev said he played with a fever and breathing difficulties during his fourth-round French Open defeat to Italian teenager Jannik Sinner on Sunday, raising questions about the COVID-19 protocols at the claycourt Grand Slam.

Zverev appeared to be in discomfort and was seen coughing on court during the match against Sinner and called for the doctor and trainer. He kept pointing at his throat and later took a pill.

The German player later said he had been ill since his third-round win against Italian Marco Cecchinato on Friday and had a body temperature of 38 degrees celsius.

“It was nothing wrong but I am completely sick after the match with Cecchinato in the night. Yeah, what can I say? I’m completely sick,” said Zverev, wearing a mask as usual during his virtual post-match news conference.

“I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever, you know, as well. It was 38. It was 38 in the night or in the evening.”

French government guidelines state that a person with COVID-19 symptoms - a body temperature above 38°C, a cough, sore throat, headache, muscle ache, loss of smell or taste - needs to isolate for seven days and immediately make an appointment for a test.

As per French Open guidelines, players are regularly tested for the novel coronavirus but Zverev declined to answer when he was last tested.

A spokesman for the French tennis federation (FFT), organisers of the French Open, told Reuters that he did not know what the tournament’s protocol said about players with COVID-19 symptoms.

The 23-year-old Zverev also played in Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour event in the Balkans where multiple players including the Serbian world number one contracted the virus. Zverev said he had tested negative.

“To be honest, I warmed up today. I shouldn’t have played,” Zverev said after losing 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 to Sinner.

Asked if he was concerned that he might get sick, 19-year-old Italian Sinner said: “He’s not positive or whatever. We have got tested quite many times, and obviously we were not that nearby.

“It’s like we always had the distance. I don’t think that I will have fever in the next days, or I hope so.” (Reporting by Julien Pretot and Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Toby Davis)