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Sport

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

(Reuters) - Six players in the men’s and women’s qualifying draw for the French Open have been withdrawn due to COVID-19 concerns, organisers have said.

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP Masters 1000 - Italian Open - Foro Italico, Rome, Italy - September 20, 2020 General view inside the arena during the semi final match between Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Norway's Casper Ruud Pool via REUTERS/Riccardo Antimiani

Initially, two players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19 and three others with confirmed close contact with the coach were withdrawn.

Organisers said later on Monday that a player in the women’s draw had also tested positive and had been withdrawn.

The qualifiers began on Monday, with the main draw set to start 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) had 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.”

Organisers did not reveal the names of those who had been pulled out but Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur said he had been withdrawn because his coach Petar Popovic had returned a positive test.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 (Popovic) didn’t get a chance to do a second test and we’re sure he was false positive because my coach has antibodies,” added Dzumhur, 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 plans to allow 5,000 spectators each day following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in France. It previously said the claycourt major would permit a maximum of 11,500 fans per day.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram and Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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