US Open: ‘11 players in close contact with Paire allowed to continue’

Noah Rubin reveals the faults in the bio-secure bubble and how USTA is mis-managing the tournament after Benoit Paire's positive test

Noah Rubin

The US Open was rocked by a Covid-19 positive test a day before the major was about to start. Frenchman Benoit Paire, who had forfeited his first-round match at the Cincinnati Masters due to illness, tested positive for the virus and has been withdrawn from the tournament.

American tennis player, and New Yorker, Noah Rubin has now come up with sensational details about how the USTA is botching up the situation and the leaks in their ‘bio-secure’ bubble.

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“Eleven players have come in close contact – which means there is a possibility that they could have contracted the virus from Paire– and they will be playing the tournament,” Rubin, who has entered the doubles draw at the US Open said on his ‘Behind the Racquet’ podcast.

“I know they are all tennis players, some on the men’s and women’s side. This number is coming from the French players directly that are quarantined,” Rubin added.

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“They have been given a new document to sign. This is an amendment to the original waivers we had to sign. This is stating that they will have no access to certain areas, but will still be permitted on the grounds and practice courts. They will be playing the tournament.

“We have heard them say many times, ‘we are prepared for positive tests.’ Here we have them. What did you do?”

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Only last week, players were upset that South American players Guido Pella and Hugo Dellien were withdrawn from the relocated Western & Southern Open because their trainer tested positive for the virus. The players argued that their understanding was that they would be asked to leave the tournament only if they were sharing a room with the person testing positive.

Though the USTA, through contact tracing, have identified the 11 players who were in close contact with Paire, only the Frenchman has been removed from the draw for now.

According to L’Equipe fellow French players Richard Gasquet, Adrian Mannarino, Gregoire Barrere and Edouard Roger-Vasselin have been asked to self-isolate in their hotel rooms.

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“My best guess is, one if not more, top players are a part of these 11,” said Rubin.

“And they are not willing to give up the tournament. Maybe 11 is too big a number to start pulling out of the tournament. Whatever the case is, not only did (USTA) contradict with what happened to Guido and Hugo last week, but they are basically going against everything that New York has worked for.”

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Rubin also said that the bubble built by the USTA is not completely secure.

“I am looking at this and thinking, ‘you are not going to do anything? all this work you put in, all the bulls**t you threw our way saying this is a bubble,’” the 24-year-old Rubin said.

“We already know it’s not a great bubble. The hotel I’m staying in, it’s not a sold out hotel, it’s not only players here. I believe only the workers from the locker room, or maybe a few others, are the only ones staying in the bubble as well.

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“We know that bus drivers, van drivers, people working around the site are going home. Why do I have to stay in the hotel? Why do I have to stay in the bubble?”

For New York, the scars inflicted by the virus are still fresh. Rubin has seen the bustling city brought to its knees by the pandemic and he sounded obviously upset about how the USTA is managing the situation.

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“How can you go on like this? What are we doing? What is this for? This is against, 1) being consistent and 2) playing by the rules of the game. You want to have a major tournament during the pandemic, you want to have the opportunity, let’s make sure we do the right things right now. It is absurd what’s happening.”