The II Davis Cup playoff tie pitting Tunisia against the Dominican Republic has already begun.
And two positive tests for COVID-19 Have caused some drama for the Tunisian team.
The International Tennis Federation made the news public at 8 a.m. EDT Saturday – 2 p.m. in Tunis, Tunisia where the tie is in its second day and the doubles was being contested.
While the names of the two players were not revealed, it’s not difficult to suss out a few things.
The team’s most accomplished player and veteran, Malek Jaziri, retired at 6-5 in the third set of his opening match on Friday, after two hours and 22 minutes, against Nick Hardt.
Jaziri, 37, is currently ranked No. 272. But as recently as 2019, he was at a career-high No. 42 in singles on the ATP Tour.
The score was 4-6, 6-1, *6-5 when it ended. You can only hope they did an elbow bump.
“The tie is continuing as planned”
After Jaziri’s default Friday, Dougaz Aziz evened the tie at 1-1 Friday with a win over Dominican No. 2 Roberto Cid Subervi.
Ouakaa Aziz, a 22-year-old ranked No 780, is playing in Jaziri’s spot at No. 1, as Tunisia seeks to clinch the tie Saturday.
On Saturday, the two Azizes combined to take the opening doubles rubber to stake Tunisia to a 2-1 lead.
Amid all the word salad about “response plans” and “COVID-19 Protocols Officer” and the rest, the fact remains that two positive players have been around their teammates all week long during practices and other team bonding.
They themselves may be isolating. But the rest of the team is carrying on.
On the plus side, the tie is outdoors.
But at this stage of the pandemic game, that’s pretty out there.