September 26, 2023

Open Court


Five players out of RG qualies – three because of coach’s positive test


According to his coach, Bosnia's Damir Dzumhur was withdrawn from Roland Garros because of the coach's positive test.


It’s already getting complicated at Roland Garros. And the qualifying hasn’t even begun.

According to L’Équipe, the Bosnian player Damir Dzumhur was withdrawn from the qualifying, which begins Monday.

Dzumhur didn’t test positive; L’Équipe, speaking to his coach Petar Popovic, reports the coach was the one who came up positive.

Except Popovic says he already contracted COVID-19 at the beginning of July.

Popovic told l’Équipe his test was “borderline” between positive and negative. He underwent 20 to 25 tests over the last 35 days between the U.S., Italy and even in Paris, where his first test was negative.

Poposivic also said that the antibodies generated as a result of having had the virus can sometimes lead to false positives.

Convinced it’s a false positive

French federation doctor Bernard Montalvan told him they would take a few hours to decide, because he was borderline. They made the decision (which led to Dzumhur’s withdrawal). But they didn’t allow him to have a second test to confirm the result.

According to Marca (Open Court heard his name as well), Denis Istomin is out of RG qualies because of a positive coronavirus test. (Stephanie Myles/

“I’m 99.9 per cent convinced that it’s a false positive. It’s a huge scandal,” Popovic told l’Équipe. “We felt so small and weak. I’m sure that if it happened to a bigger player, he would have had the chance to prove it wasn’t false.And I think that if Rafa (Nadal) was in our situation, he would have had the right to a second or third test to make sure.”

Five players withdrawn

The tournament confirmed Sunday evening that two players have tested positive for the virus, and three others have “confirmed close contact with a coach” who has tested positive.

“In line with tournament health protocols, the five players will not compete in the qualifying tournament which begins tomorrow and will self isolate for a period of seven days,” the statement read.

It added that “some 900 tests” have been carried out since Thursday.

According to Marca, the Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles was also stricken from the qualifying draw. In his case, it also was his coach testing positive.

Marca also reports the names other players who will now miss the qualifying as well.

They name American Ernesto Escobedo, Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan and Pedja Krstin of Serbia.

Ernesto Escobedo, per Marca, is also out of the Roland Garros qualifying. (Stephanie Myles/

Open Court had heard the latter two names, but not about Escobedo.

(But here’s the trick about that one – Escobedo and several of his family members tested positive for the virus back in May. His coach may also have had it. And yet … )

In Krstin’s case, we’re told it was also his coach – not the player himself. And that both Krstin and Dzumhur were sharing hotel rooms with their coaches.

The irony in all this is that we’re told Krstin is already back in Belgrade. Which means that he’s had contact with someone who was positive. But there’s no problem getting into a cab to the airport, going through the airport and … taking a flight.

Which makes sense, right? But in fact, French law cannot mandate them to do their isolation in France. (How different is this compared to what happened with the “Friends of Paire” at the US Open?)

They do have to inform the airline, which may require them to stay put for a week before they fly home.

We’ve also gotten word of another coach who has tested positive – but this time on the women’s side.

But since the coach and the player did not share a room, she’s still in. The tournament has not yet weighed in on that.

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