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Sport

Babos decries U.S. Open doubles withdrawal

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - Australian Open - Women's Doubles Final - Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia - January 31, 2020 Hungary's Timea Babos and France's Kristina Mladenovic celebrate with the trophy after winning the final against Taiwan's Su-Wei Hsieh and Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova. REUTERS/Edgar Su

(Reuters) - Women’s doubles top seed Timea Babos has said she was still in tears on Sunday, a day after she and her partner Kristina Mladenovic were withdrawn from the U.S. Open hours before being due on court.

The duo were forced to hand Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski and American Alison Riske a walkover in the second round after Mladenovic received a COVID-19 quarantine notice from public health officials.

France’s Mladenovic was one of 10 players who came in contact with Benoit Paire, who was pulled out from the men’s field at the hardcourt major after testing positive for the new coronavirus.

“I’m sitting here in my kitchen and crying,” Babos said in a post on Instagram on Sunday. “I haven’t really had time for anything so far. I’m just starting to realize what happened and I just don’t understand.”

“It’s terribly unfair. I don’t see any acceptable reason why this should have been the case.”

The players are staying in Nassau County, which borders New York City, and the United States Tennis Association said public health officials had prevented those who had contact with Paire from travelling to Flushing Meadows where the Grand Slam is being held.

Babos said she had undergone four COVID-19 tests, with each returning a negative result, while Mladenovic had tested negative 11 times.

“Yet we were excluded,” the 27-year-old Hungarian added. “Simply an injustice! Incomprehensible! It’s not fair.

“I’m an athlete, I wanted to compete. They took away the opportunity to raise a GS (Grand Slam) trophy.”

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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