Jabeur and Bencic test positive after Abu Dhabi

Both Ons Jabeur and Belinda Bencic, who played the women’s exhibition match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship last Thursday, have fallen to coronavirus, joining Rafael Nadal and Emma Raducanu by testing positive for COVID-19.

Unfortunately and even though I am fully vaccinated, I recently tested positive for Covid-19. I am currently isolating and taking all precautionary [measures] to get through this as best as possible as I am experiencing quite severe symptoms (fever, aches, chills). While the timing is not ideal - as I was in the final stages of my preparations for the Australian Open swing - I will make my way to Australia as soon as I am cleared and past the isolation period. Belinda Bencic

Bencic lost to Jabeur, who had replaced US Open champion Emma Raducanu after the Briton tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew from the event earlier in the week.

Jabeur, the Tunisian World No 10, posted on Twitter: “Hi everyone! I am writing these words to let you know that, despite being double vaccinated, I tested positive for Covid-19.

“Even though I am experiencing very strong symptoms, I hope to overcome this virus quickly and get well soon.

“I’m currently isolating in Tunisia and I will provide you with an update when I have fully recovered. Take care of yourself and your loved ones!”

The 27-year old, the highest-ranked Arab tennis player in history, was a late replacement at MWTC for Raducanu, who was forced to isolate in Abu Dhabi after her positive test.

In line with the latest government guidelines, MWTC allowed entry to fans with green status on the Al Hosn app and a negative PCR test result with 96-hour validity across the 3 days of the tournament.

Measures were in place within the stadium and throughout the Tennis Village to ensure the health and safety of fans, players and officials, including the wearing of face masks at all times, numerous hand sanitiser dispensers around the grounds, and social distancing rules.

Jabeur’s announcement came just hours after Olympic gold medallist Bencic revealed that she had tested positive: “Unfortunately and even though I am fully vaccinated, I recently tested positive for Covid-19,” 24-year old Bencic said on social media.

“I am currently isolating and taking all precautionary [measures] to get through this as best as possible as I am experiencing quite severe symptoms (fever, aches, chills).

“While the timing is not ideal – as I was in the final stages of my preparations for the Australian Open swing – I will make my way to Australia as soon as I am cleared and past the isolation period.”


Rafael Nadal and his coach Carlos Moya, seen here in Paris in May, have both tested positive for COVID-19 after leaving Abu Dhabi

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal, 35, also revealed on Monday that he had tested positive upon returning to Spain from Abu Dhabi: “Hi all. I wanted to announce that on my return home after playing the Abu Dhabi tournament, I have tested positive for Covid in the PCR test that was performed on me when I arrived in Spain,” the 20-time Grand Slam champion wrote on Twitter.

“Both in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi we passed controls every two days and all were negative, the last being on Friday and having the results on Saturday.

“I am having some unpleasant moments but I hope that I will improve little by little. I am now homebound and have reported the result to those who have been in contact with me.”

45-year old Carlos Moya, Nadal’s coach and a former men’s World No 1, also tested positive on Tuesday on his return from Abu Dhabi.

Moya, who won the French Open in 1998, said in a series of tweets he had been experiencing ‘Fever, headache, sweating, pain all over the body, chills’ and hoped the worst was over.


Emma Radcucanu appeared via video link from her hotel room in Abu Dhabi where she is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 last week

BBC

Raducanu, who won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday, has been in isolation in her Abu Dhabi hotel room for 10 days.

“I am feeling much better,” the 19-year old told BBC Breakfast. “Today I did my 10,000 steps around the room. That’s been keeping me occupied.”

This is far from ideal for Raducanu ahead of her first full season on the WTA tour as she has been unable to work with her new coach Torben Beltz and is likely to play her first match in Melbourne on 3 or 4 January.

“I just want to look back at the end of 2022 and think that I have improved in some way and also learned,” Raducanu added.

“I have got a lot of learning to do. It might take longer to recover but we’ll see. I’m looking forward to getting started.”

Raducanu is slated to join Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep in the field for the Melbourne Summer Set in early January.

The trio are among 20 of the world’s Top 50 players on the entry list for the two WTA 250 tournaments scheduled to run from 3-9 January, with the field to be split between the tournaments in the week of 27 December.

Osaka will be playing for the first time since falling in the US Open third round to eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez, while Halep, who endured an injury-struck 2021, will be seeking to build on an autumn resurgence that saw her reach the Cluj-Napoca final on home soil.

Raducanu will be competing in her fourth tournament since winning the US Open as a qualifier in September, and just her eighth WTA-level event overall.

The Melbourne Summer Set, comprising two WTA 250 and one ATP 250 tournaments, will feature some of the world’s biggest names warming up for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park.

Also on the list are Elise Mertens, winner of the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne last year, and teenage up-and-comers Clara Tauson, Marta Kostyuk and Camila Osorio.

Tauson’s breakthrough 2021 season involved the Dane’s first two WTA titles in Lyon and Luxembourg, while Osorio took her maiden trophy at home in Bogota and capped her year with a first hardcourt final in Tenerife.

Former Top 10 players Daria Kasatkina, Madison Keys and Caroline Garcia will also begin 2022 in Melbourne, as well as Roland Garros finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Australian Open quarter-finalist Jessica Pegula.

Montréal champion Camila Giorgi, three-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Yulia Putintseva, Berlin winner Liudmila Samsonova, doubles World No 1 Katerina Siniakova and Egypt’s trailblazing Mayar Sherif are also on the entry list.


Tennis Australia


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