The German Alexander Zverev (ATP 5) made it into the round of 16 with a four-set win over Adrian Mannarino at the US Open. The game started three hours late because of the health authorities.
It was debated for such a long time whether Mannarino was even allowed to compete. At the beginning it was said that the chances were bad. “Ultimately, I’m happy that they let me play,” said Adrian Mannarino.
The Frenchman was one of the seven players who signed a strict additional protocol last Sunday in order to remain in the US Open after having had close contact with Benoit Paire, who tested positive. They had to get tested for the coronavirus every day instead of every four days. Except for training and matches, they were not allowed to leave the hotel room on Long Island.
Since signing the additional protocol, Mannarino had survived two rounds before the game against Zverev. On Friday lunchtime, the ATP informed Mannarino and Zverev that their third round game may not take place. Because the health authority of the US state of New York, unlike the authority of the city of New York, belatedly did not approve the additional protocol, thanks to which the group around Mannarino had been able to remain in the tournament.
“The authorities of New York State took the view that I had had close contact with a positive case and therefore had to be in quarantine and not on the tennis court,” Mannarino said afterwards. The US Open only confirmed that there had been negotiations with the health authority.
Two hours after the planned start, the actors received the approval of the authorities; Another hour later it started. The authorities did not influence the outcome of the game: “I did not let myself be disturbed,” said Mannarino, “my coach dealt with the situation for me. When we were allowed to play, I met an opponent who was stronger than me. ”
Zverev: “He played for his freedom”
Alexander Zverev, a co-favorite at the US Open, agreed to the delayed start of the game. He would not have been obliged to. “It wasn’t in our hands. It wasn’t the tournament or the player’s decision to play or not to play. It was more politics, bigger people than us. We just waited, ”says the German with an understanding. “I can’t really blame anyone.”
He even feels a little sorry for his opponent Mannarino. “This is actually the last time he was allowed to leave the hotel room for a long time. I feel like he had nothing to lose. To a certain extent he was playing for his freedom »(video above).
Five players from France (Mannarino, Richard Gasquet, Grégoire Barrère, Edouard Roger-Vasselin, Kristina Mladenovic) and two Belgians (Kirsten Flipkens and Ysaline Bonaventure) had to sign the additional protocol a week after the “Benoit Paire case” in order to participate in the tournament stay. In the meantime, all of these players have been eliminated from the tournament with the exception of Mladenovic, who is due to compete in a women’s doubles round of 16 with Hungarian Timea Babos on Saturday.
Until 9/11 in quarantine
All of these actors must remain in quarantine in New York until September 11th. The plan to fly all these players to Europe on a French government-funded plane was not approved by the New York authorities. The players were originally assured that they would be allowed to continue training on clay in New York even after they were eliminated in order to prepare for the French Open (from September 27th). Since Friday, those who have been eliminated have not been allowed to leave their hotel rooms or exercise.
Kristina Mladenovic called the US Open on Thursday a “nightmare” for them, because “we are treated like criminals and prisoners”. Mannarino did not go that far after being eliminated from Zverev. “I don’t call the experience a nightmare. I decided to go to this particular tournament. And the organizers did everything and gave me the opportunity to give everything on the pitch. I thank them for that. “