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Cornet against protocols: “There was an epidemic of Covid-19 at Roland-Garros and nobody talked about it”

Covid has hit Wimbledon hard in the first two days. France’s Alizé Cornet says that it has been prevalent in the locker room since Roland-Garros.

Alizé Cornet, 2022 Alizé Cornet, 2022 (© AI / Reuters / Panoramic)

Speaking to French reporters after her 6-3, 7-6(5) victory over Yulia Putintseva on Tuesday at Wimbledon, Alizé Cornet says that Covid-19 was likely rampant at Roland-Garros and added that there is an implicit agreement between players in the locker room not to say anything about it.

“The Covid, now, has become commonplace,” she said. “There are vaccines. There have always been injuries and illnesses. At Roland-Garros, there was an epidemic of Covid-19 and nobody talked about it. In the locker room, everyone had it and we said nothing,” Cornet said.

A tacit agreement in the locker room (Cornet)

Several players did report positive Covid tests at Roland-Garros, including Marie Bouzkova and Barbora Krejcikova, but those revelations came after the women had played matches, and not due to any Covid testing protocols.

“When we see that Krejcikova is withdrawing (Krejcikova played singles, lost, then withdrew from doubles) and that the whole locker room is sick… We may have all had the flu, three symptoms, a scratchy throat and we’re playing, everything’s fine,” Cornet said, adding:

“At Roland-Garros, there must have been a few cases and it must have been a tacit agreement between us. We are not going to self-test to get ourselves into trouble. I’ve seen girls wear masks because they didn’t want to pass it on… But I won’t say more about it.”

Some have the flu, some have gastro-enteritis. Some tournaments had carnage because of not very fresh foods. Is anyone thinking about a sanitary protocol for stomach bugs?

Alizé Cornet

The situation is likely similar at Wimbledon, were the tournament has been rocked by the withdrawals of two former men’s singles runner-ups, Marin Cilic and Matteo Berrettini, in the first two days of main draw play. Both players were considered to have a shot at the title, but both tested positive and reported the news on social media and via the tournament.

Cornet – it can spread the fire and it makes me nervous

Cornet believes that Covid is just one of the many illnesses that players can pick up during their travels, and she doesn’t believe there needs to be any tighter Covid protocols.

“Some have the flu, some have gastro-enteritis,” she said. “Some tournaments had carnage because of not very fresh foods. Two, three, four withdrawals. Bad luck, that’s it.

“Is anyone thinking about a sanitary protocol for stomach bugs? Now Covid is part of our lives and habits.”

When asked if Wimbledon should introduce an emergency protocol, she expressed no desire for it.

“To have big names out, their names in the media, it can spread the fire and it makes me nervous,” she said.
“I hope they will be smart enough not to do it. They already took [our ranking] points out. This is adding insult to injury. We had the bubbles, we paid the price already” 

Sakkari – time to get back to normal

When asked about the high profile withdrawals, Greece’s Maria Sakkari indicated that there is a normalisation occurring across the tour. Players now accept the reality of Covid and treat it like any other illness that may cause one to miss a tournament.

“We have to get back to a normal life again,” she said. “It’s very unfortunate that a couple of players had COVID and they had to pull out. At the same time it’s bad luck, I have to say, they got it right now for this very special tournament.

“Eventually we’re all going to get it at some point. I believe it’s just, even if you get food poison, you won’t be able to play. There are certain things that won’t allow you to play a tennis match, and COVID is one of them.”

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