Denis Kudla has been put into isolation after he tested positive for covid-19 during the Australian Open qualifiers in Doha. In a surprising event, the American’s positive test result came through when Kudla was leading 5-3 in the second set. Kudla was allowed to wrap up the match as he defeated Moroccan, Elliot Benchetrit, 6-4 6-3.
If Kudla would have lost the final game of the match, with Benchetrit making the score 5-4 in the second set, the match would have been awarded to the Moroccan via a walkover given in his favor. “At 5-3, they got the result. So to sum up: if I’d won that game at 5-3 to make it 5-4, I’d have qualified for the second round,” Benchetrit said on Instagram.
In another blow, Benchetrit might have to isolate in Doha if he is deemed to be in close contact with Kudla. The American is second player forced to withdraw from the tournament after a positive test, joining Francisco Cerundolo in hotel quarantine.
Two players test positive during the on-going Australian Open qualifiers
Earlier, Francisco Cerundolo tested positive for covid-19, just before he was due to face Mario Vilella Martinez. The Argentine later tweeted and assured his fans that he was in good health. Kudla’s positive test means that his second round opponent, Dane Sweeny, will advance directly into the third round of the qualifying event via a walkover.
Tennis Australia confirmed the two positive cases in a statement: “Two players have returned a positive Covid-19 test at AO men’s qualifying in Doha, Qatar. Both players have been withdrawn from the tournament and transferred to a quarantine hotel,” it said.
“Local health authorities, the tournament physician and medical team are monitoring each individual. Contact tracing is currently under way to notify close contacts,” it added.
Benchetrit revealed to Tennis Majors that players are allowed to play their scheduled matches, even before receiving their test results, which would have taken a longer time.
“The concept of a test is to have the information up front, to not put the lines people, the opponent or, quite simply, everyone the person might meet before or after their match, in danger,” he said.
“There also are lucky losers who are waiting for a forfeit to be able to play, who travelled there for nothing. The draw is compromised; there will be a player in the third round of qualifications having played just one match. That’s also the problem,” he added.