Bosnia’s Damir Dzumhur, who was removed from the French Open qualifying draw on Sunday, is considering legal action against the French Tennis Federation (FFT).
The 28-year-old was asked to leave the French Open after his coach Petar Popović tested positive for Covid-19. The player’s argument is that Popović had already contracted the virus earlier in the year and it could be a case of a false positive. But the FFT refused to test the coach a second time.
“He (my coach) tried to explain that people who have antibodies can have a false positive test, we unfortunately didn’t get a chance to do another test and we are sure that he would show that he is negative,” Dzumhur, ranked 114 in the world, was quoted as saying by Klix.ba on Monday.
“They were not very interested in that, they called me around 4 pm and told me that due to the close contact with him I do not have the right to play at Roland Garros this year.
“It is one of the most important tournaments of the year for me and it hurts me the most that I don’t have a chance to play.”
Klix also published a photo of a second test done by Popović in Serbia, which turned out to be negative. They confirmed that Dzumhur has hired a lawyer to come to a settlement with Roland Garros organisers. A lawsuit may follow if they don’t reach an agreement.
“You should all know the real truth is that Damir Dzumhur was withdrawn from the tournament for no reason and we were only asking for a second test which would have shown it was a false positive,” Popović wrote on Instagram.
In an interview with L’Equipe two days ago, Popović had said, “We did not know that we would not be entitled to a second test to prove a possible false positive. I find that quite inhuman.”
“We felt so small and weak,” he added. “I’m sure if it had happened to a bigger player he would have had the opportunity to prove that it’s not a fake. I think if Rafa was in our case, he would be entitled to a second or third test to verify. So we’re really disgusted with what’s happening to us.”
The FFT confirmed on Monday that a total of six players, five male and one female, had been removed from the qualifying draw either for testing positive for Covid-19 or being in close contact with someone who had contracted the novel virus.