Tennis: Paire says he played in Hamburg despite testing positive for COVID-19

Reuters , Thursday 24 Sep 2020

Benoit Paire
Benoit Paire of France returns the ball to Casper Ruud of Norway during their first round match of the ATP-Tour German Open tennis tournament at the stadium Am Rothenbaum in Hamburg, northern Germany, on September 23, 2020. AFP

Frenchman Benoit Paire said on Wednesday that he was allowed to play in the Hamburg Open despite testing positive for COVID-19 because the “rules are different” in Germany.

Paire, who caused a storm at the U.S. Open last month when he was forced to pull out of the Grand Slam after testing positive for COVID-19, said he returned a positive test again on his arrival in Germany but was told he was no longer contagious.

Paire played Norwegian Casper Ruud in his first round match but retired in the second set when he was down 6-4 2-0.

“When I arrived, the test came back positive again,” Paire, who also played in the Rome Masters last week, told reporters. “I can’t take it anymore, I’m breaking.

“And then I’m told, in Germany, if you are positive and have already completed the quarantine (period), they no longer test the players because even if you catch it again, you are no longer contagious.

“I said ‘thank you’ to the doctor and the tournament (organisers) for allowing me to play... In Paris, some are negative but since the coach tested positive, they cannot play. Here, in Germany, you test positive and you can still play.”

Six players in the French Open men’s and women’s qualifying draw were withdrawn this week after either testing positive for COVID-19 or after coming in close contact with a coach who tested positive.

Paire added that he fears he will be withdrawn from the French Open after a doctor in France told him there was a 50% chance he would test positive when he arrives in Paris.

The French Open begins on Sunday.

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