Two players, Argentina’s Guido Pella and Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien, said their fitness trainer tested positive for COVID-19 and that is why they were dropped from the tennis tournament that will precede the U.S. Open at its Flushing Meadow site.
Pella and Dellien posted separate videos on Instagram after the Western & Southern Open announced Wednesday that two players – who the tournament’s statement did not identify – were placed under quarantine and removed from the tournament field after being exposed to someone who tested for the illness caused by the coronavirus.
The Western & Southern Open normally is held in Cincinnati but was moved to New York this year as part of an unusual doubleheader of sorts with the U.S. Open because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Qualifying is scheduled to begin Thursday for the tuneup event; the Grand Slam tournament is slated to begin Aug. 31.
The U.S. Tennis Association announced Tuesday that one person — who it did not name but said is not a player — came up positive out of the 1,400 COVID-19 tests administered since last week as part of the protocols for the controlled environment for the two tournaments. That person tested positive on a second test after arrival and was told to isolate for 10 days.
Pella and Dellien both said that was their trainer, Juan Manuel Galvan.
Pella said the trio was together in Miami together last week, preparing for the return to competition after a hiatus caused by the pandemic.
The 30-year-old Pella was a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon last year, has a career-best ranking of No. 20 and is currently No. 35. He would have been in the main draw at the Western & Southern Open.
The 27-year-old Dellien reached the second round round at the 2019 U.S. Open in his tournament debut. He’s been ranked as high as No. 72 and is No. 94 now, which would have put him in qualifying for the Western & Southern Open.
Wednesday’s statement from that tournament said contact tracing “determined that two players have been in close and prolonged contact” with the person who tested positive and noted that the players were not experiencing symptoms.
“We expected this to happen,” USTA CEO Mike Dowse said about the initial positive test during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. “Mathematically, we expected to have a positive, if not more than one. So we did anticipate this and we have put very specific protocol in place to prevent this from spreading broadly. … Our No. 1 priority is to take care of this person first, and secondly to prevent the spread from going any further.”