U.S. tennis player Coco Gauff has tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing her to pull out of the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Gauff posted on Twitter on Sunday.
“It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.”
The 17-year-old lost to Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 in the fourth round at Wimbledon this month. It was the second time she had lost at that stage after her breakthrough run at the All England Club in 2019.
Gauff is No. 25 in the WTA rankings.
“We were saddened to learn that Coco Gauff has tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore be unable to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” the U.S. Tennis Association said in a statement.
“We wish her the best as she deals with this unfortunate situation and hope to see her back on the courts very soon. We know Coco will join all of us in rooting on the other Team USA members who will be traveling to Japan and competing in the coming days.”
Preliminary Olympic competition starts Tuesday. The opening ceremony is Friday. The Games run until Aug. 8.
Gauff, ranked No. 23, was the marquee player of the contingent of four invited by USA Tennis to participate in the women’s singles event at the Games. The others are No. 15 Jennifer Brady, No. 26 Jessica Pegula and No. 29 Alison Riske. She was also slated to compete in doubles with Nicole Melichar.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands, a 2016 mixed doubles gold medalist, is paired with Pegula in doubles.
Gauff’s withdrawal left officials with the U.S. Tennis Association scrambling Sunday to make alternate arrangements six days before the Olympic competition is scheduled to begin at the Ariake Colosseum.
Among higher-ranked Americans, Sofia Kenin, the highest-ranked U.S. player at No. 4, announced during Wimbledon that she wouldn’t compete in Tokyo, as did 16th-ranked Serena Williams.
In other virus news, two South African male soccer players were identified as the first athletes living in the Olympic Village to test positive, along with a team video analyst who was living there. All had been moved to “the Tokyo 2020 isolation facility,” the South African Olympic committee said. The rest of the team members and officials had also been quarantined.
Those positive tests further stoked local fears, with the South African team scheduled to play Japan in its first game Thursday.
Also Sunday, South Africa confirmed that the coach of its rugby sevens team also tested positive at a pre-Olympics training camp in the southern Japanese city of Kagoshima. He was in isolation there and would miss the rugby competition, the team said.
And there were other Olympics-related positive tests. Olympic organizers said that another athlete had tested positive, although they were not residing in the Olympic Village. The athlete was not named and identified only as “non-Japanese.”
The first International Olympic Committee official was reported as positive, Ryu Seung-min of South Korea. He recorded a positive test Saturday when arriving at a Tokyo airport. He was reportedly being held in isolation, too.
Former distance runner and world championship bronze medalist Tegla Loroupe, the chief of mission of the IOC’s Refugee Olympic Team, tested positive before the team was to depart its Doha, Qatar, training base for Tokyo, the Associated Press reported. The team delayed its arrival in Tokyo while Loroupe is expected to stay behind.
Organizers said that 55 people linked to the Olympics in Japan have reported positive tests from July 1 through Sunday, but that figure does not include athletes or others who may have arrived for training camps but are not yet under the “jurisdiction” of the organizing committee.
Tokyo reported 1,008 new virus cases Sunday, the 29th straight day that cases were higher than seven days previously. It was also the fifth straight day with more than 1,000 cases. The Olympics will open under a state of emergency in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures.
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