Benoit Paire testing positive for Coronavirus whilst inside the US Open bubble, has left a lot of unanswered questions. But his countryman, Gilles Simon, has dismissed the concept of a ‘bio-secure’ bubble and slammed the tournament organisers for being ‘arbitrary’ with the sanctions.
“If I was in the bubble, there was the whole tournament in the bubble,” Simon said after winning his first round match against Mohamed Safwat.
“I think we have to stop talking about the bubble. In fact, there isn’t and there won’t be. It must simply be said that each tournament will do its utmost to reduce the risk of contamination.”
Simon, who takes on 19th seed Taylor Fritz in the second round, said that all the players came to the Grand Slam knowing that there was a risk of contracting the virus.
“Everyone knows when they come that we can unfortunately have it (the virus). You know that if you are positive your tournament is over,” he said.
“What is complicated to manage is more the Covid contact clause which looks very random, even arbitrary, and which can ruin your life for two weeks. That side hadn’t been cleared up at all before, it is a little frustrating.”
Simon called in question the treatment meted out to Guido Pella and Hugo Dellien. The two South American players were withdrawn from the Cincinnati Masters, tune-up event for the US Open, after their fitness trainer tested positive for the virus.
But while the USTA, through contact tracing, identified multiple players who were in ‘close contact’ with Paire, they were allowed to continue at the Open. Simon’s compatriots Edouard Roger Vasselin, Kristina Mladenovic and Adrian Mannarino are amongst the seven players who were given the ‘enhanced protocol’ plan.
Paire himself had said that the US Open was in a ‘fake bubble’. But the USTA was quoted as saying by L’Equipe, “It was clearly stated that the player who contracted the virus was not following New York State approved health protocols.”