A situation similar to that of Guido Pella in Cincinnati happened to the Bosnian, but he decided to go to court.
Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, who was excluded from the Roland Garros qualifying table after his coach Petar Popovic test positive for coronavirus, he will sue the French Tennis Federation, organizer of the Parisian Grand Slam, because he considers that his disqualification was unfair. As reported by the newspaper The team, the 114th in the world ranking made this determination after receiving the negative result of a second test that his coach performed on his own, due to the refusal of the FFT to repeat the control.
“It is a scandal and a great frustration. I am sure that we are going to win in court. They are going to pay a lot for this. It drives me crazy,” Popovic told the French media.
The situation – similar to that experienced by Guido Pella in the Flushing Meadows bubble due to the false positive of his physical trainer that left him out of Cincinnati – began on Sunday, when the organizers of Roland Garros reported that six players had been excluded from the men’s preliminary phase of the tournament. On Monday, a player from the women’s qualification was added to that list. All were disqualified after having tested positive for Covid-19 or having been in contact with an infected person.
Although the names of the affected tennis players were not officially disclosed, Dzumhur himself said on his Instagram account that he was in that group due to Popovic’s test result. And he added: “We are sure it is a false positive because my coach has antibodies. He was not authorized for a second test, I am devastated.”
Popovic assured: “Damir has been disqualified for an inconclusive result that I gave in a PCR test. I had coronavirus two and a half months ago and since then, they have done between 20 and 25 tests. The doctors told me that sometimes I could get some result in the border between positive and negative because I have generated antibodies and that, sometimes, can give rise to strange results “.
The coach slipped that the treatment is not the same for any player. “It seems incredible to me that they have not given me another test. They have not given Damir a chance to defend his rights and I am sure that they would not have acted like that with a major player. If this had happened with Rafael Nadal, they would have done two or three more tests and surely they would have let him compete, “he continued.
Frustrated and in the midst of strong anger over the refusal of the FFT to do a new test, the team left Paris. Upon arriving in Serbia a day later, Popovic underwent two tests, one nasal and one throat, at the Novi Sad Institute of Public Health, which revealed that he was “full of antibodies” and was negative for coronavirus. Dzumhur himself shared a photo of the results on his social networks.
After receiving this new result, the tennis player and his team decided to initiate legal action against Roland Garros and the FFT, since his elimination not only prevented him from competing in the tournament. He also denied him the chance to win a cash prize of at least 10,000 euros (what he would have won by falling in the first round of qualifying), important for the players’ pockets in a season of very little action.
Consulted by L’Equipe, the doctor Bernard Montalvan, responsible for the Roland Garros health protocol, explained why Dzumhur was excluded.
“Someone who has had the disease has developed an immunity that will probably cause them to test positive on PCR several times. Our protocol decreed that it is not proven that someone who has antibodies cannot transmit the virus and have it again. For us, only the PCR is important. We wrote it, the players read it and signed it, “the doctor recalled.
And he added: “We do two tests with the samples. Sometimes, depending on the sensitivity of the machines, it may be that a test is positive in one machine and negative in another. If that happens, we decide with our scientific committee, with a biologist. and an infectologist, how to move forward. We had tested Popovic twice and he tested positive, even if he tested negative a day later. ”
Pella and the Bolivian lived a situation similar to the one that Dzumhur is going through Hugo Dellien in New York when Juan Manuel Galvan, the physical trainer of both, tested positive in the first control when he reached the bubble that was set up in Flushing Meadows. The two players were discharged from the Cincinnati Masters 1000 and were confined in their rooms, despite the fact that they themselves tested negative in several tests.
Almost a week later, the USTA agreed to test Galván again, who tested negative, and ended up enabling the Argentine and Bolivian to come out of isolation, albeit with very rigid security measures. In addition to missing the Masters 1000, the Bahian arrived at the US Open without rhythm and said goodbye on his debut.
The Spanish Bernabé Zapata, another of the players who were excluded from the Roland Garros qualification due to the result of their coach’s test, Carlos Navarro, He announced that when he returned to Valencia, both he and his coach took new tests and came back negative.
The 144th number in the ranking, 23, shared the results of the new controls on his Instagram account. “Same result (BOTH NEGATIVE) as in the test we performed before traveling to Paris and the same result (BOTH NEGATIVE) that we received at the tournament hotel on Thursday 17th upon our arrival,” explained the Spaniard.
As reported by the Spanish website BrandZapata will not initiate legal action against the tournament at the moment, as will Dzumhur. He will speak with the organization first, although he did not rule out the option of the lawsuit for the future.