French Open organisers sued over ‘scandal’

French Open organisers sued over ‘scandal’

PARIS • Bosnian tennis player Damir Dzumhur is taking legal action against the organisers of the French Open after he was barred from entering the qualification round following a positive Covid-19 test for his coach Petar Popovic.

The Serb said the test was a “false positive” because he had already been infected earlier this year and was “full of antibodies”.

He also insisted a new private test he underwent in Serbia showed he was negative, French sports daily L’Equipe reported.

World No. 114 Dzumhur, who at his highest was ranked 23rd, and Popovic have both claimed they were denied a second test by the French Tennis Federation (FFT), the organisers of the Grand Slam, thus forcing their legal action.

“It’s a scandal and a huge frustration,” Popovic told L’Equipe on Tuesday. “I’m sure we’re going to win in court. They’re going to pay a lot for this. It makes me crazy.

“If he had been called (defending champion) Rafael Nadal, for certain they would have taken a second sample, even a third, to be sure that it wasn’t a false result. I want it to be a bit more human.”

Popovic also told the Associated Press that Dzumhur had tested negative, but was excluded because they had shared a room.

The FFT has, however, insisted that the guidelines had been agreed upon by the players, with the association’s doctor, Bernard Montalvan, adding that Popovic “had been tested twice”.

“We have drawn up our protocol in consultation with the government services. It was signed by the players and their team to obtain their accreditation,” it said in a statement to Reuters.

Dr Montalvan also told L’Equipe: “If a coach sleeps in the same room as his player, he knows that if he tests positive, the player will be a contact case. That is why it’s written in the protocol that it’s not recommended to share a room.”

The delayed French Open will be held from Sunday to Oct 11 after being moved from its usual late May-June slot. And there are plans to allow up to 5,000 fans at Roland Garros, making the Grand Slam the first tournament to have a crowd since both the men’s and women’s tennis tours were put on ice in March for five months.

REUTERS