October 23, 2020

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Fognini tests positive, while Querrey reportedly flees Russia

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Italian star Fabio Fognini, who entered the new ATP Tour event in Sardinia late in the game because of the withdrawal of two top seeds, is out after testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

On Wednesday, shortly before he was to take the court for his first-round match against Roberto Carballes of Spain – the news came and he withdrew from the tournament.

Fognini’s father expanded upon it on Twitter.

In a nutshell, Fulvio Fognini wrote that if his son – who had always wore a mask and always sanitized – caught the virus, then anyone can get it.

Fognini confirms the news

At about 8:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday, Fognini himself confirmed it on Instagram.

He is not asymptomatic, although he wrote that his symptoms are mild.

“Guys I have to tell you that this morning I tested positive for COVID-19. The symptoms are very Mild, some cough and fever, headache … but unfortunately this bad news has arrived. I am already in solitary confinement and I am convinced that I will recover very soon. Hugs to all.”

Fognini also has now withdrawn from the ATP tournament in Antwerp, Belgium next week – obviously because he has to self-isolate.

Who is considered a “close contact”?

If the news is true, it brings up a lot more questions.

Fognini has already been on court at the ATP Tour event in doubles.

His match Tuesday involved not only his partner, up-and-coming Italian star Lorenzo Musetti, but two other Italian players: Lorenzo Sonego and Andrea Vavassori.

And it was a lengthy match, won by Sonego and Vavassori 6-7 (3), 7-6, (5), 15-13. The four spent more than two hours on court.

Fognini found out about the positive test Wednesday morning. When was he tested? It would have been Tuesday. Did he arrive four days earlier and get tested all the way back on Friday before being issued his credential, as the tournament fact sheet dictates was the protocol?

Hard to think he’d have arrived so far ahead. But it would almost have to be the case. If not, that would mean he was allowed to go on court and compete before the results were known.

Sonego, the No. 5 seed, played his singles match Wednesday, losing 6-4, 3-6, 6-1 to Jiri Vesely.

Musetti, who was on the court right next to Fognini for that match (did they tap racquets instead of fist bump?) is due to play qualifier Andrea Pellegrino in the second round Thursday after winning his first-round match on Monday.

Notably, Pellegrino won his first-round match when yet another Italian, Stefano Travaglia, retired down 0-3 in the third set with a … headache.

Fognini said his COVID-19 symptoms are mild. But he is not asymptomatic. (Stephanie Myles/OpenCourt.ca)

Ten of the top 100 ATP positive

Fognini is the 10th player ranked in the ATP Tour’s top 100 – that we know of – to have announced a positive test since the pandemic began.

He joins No. 1 Novak Djokovic, David Goffin, Grigor Dimitrov, Benoit Paire, Borna Coric, Kei Nishikori, Fernando Verdasco, Sam Querrey and Frances Tiafoe.

Querrey’s positive came ahead of this week’s St. Petersburg ATP Tour event.

In Paris, players who tested positive ahead of Roland Garros or needed to isolate because of close contact were basically free to fly home and do it there. French law did not allow the tournament to mandate they stay put and isolate.

But in Russia, we’re told that’s not the case.

Potential scandal brewing

So that makes this particular bit of news pretty significant.

We’re told that the breach involves Querrey, whose wife and baby also reportedly tested positive for the virus.

According to the local laws, the American was mandated to quarantine along with his family in Russia for 14 days. It wouldn’t be a major hardship, as the players were housed at the elegant Four Seasons hotel.

But we’re hearing that rather than do that, the American made the call to leave Russia by private plane before an agreed-up second test was to be administered.

The risk the players take in choosing to compete in events is that they may catch the virus. In that case, they also commit to follow the tournament protocols and the laws of that particularly country.

They also make the deliberate choice to bring their family, including an eight-month-old in this case.

But, per Ben Rothenberg on Twitter, it got somewhat dicey in the former Soviet Union. Although there are quite a few questions we have about this version.

The directives the players were given on the tournament’s fact sheet for the St. Petersburg tournament are as follows:

 “During the tournament, everyone should follow Federal and Local Government directives and ATP rules and instructions.”

Here are the details of what the US Embassy is advising for American citizens who travel to Russia.

It’s a big deal.