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Verdasco filing suit against Roland Garros for forced withdrawal
The 36-year-old Spaniard was withdrawn from the event upon testing positive for coronavirus, which he claimed was caused by a prior infection.
Published Sep 30, 2020
Fernando Verdasco says he will file suit against Roland Garros for being forced to withdraw from the tournament upon testing positive for coronavirus.
The 36-year-old from Spain, who said the positive was caused by a prior infection, had wanted the event to perform a second test. But tournament officials refused, saying that was not part of their protocols. Verdasco said he had another two tests performed in Spain and that neither was positive.
"It's unbelievable that a tournament like Roland Garros does that," Verdasco told Spanish station Cadena Ser. "It is no longer about money—it's about the harm done both professionally and personally."
The tournament has changed their protocols since Verdasco's withdrawal, saying they will now take a record of prior infection into account and not withdraw a player or team member if they are not still considered infectious.
Verdasco said he was even more infuriated that the tournament had decided on the change but still not allowed him to compete.
"It was the final straw," he said to the program Mas Vale-Tarde, adding, "I can't imagine what would have happened if it had been the No. 1 in the rankings."
Top seed Novak Djokovic is among the players in the competition who are publicly known as having previously had coronavirus.
A tournament official, speaking to L'Equipe, confirmed that while they still "do not do a second test when it is positive," local authorities now allow the event to take record of prior infection into account.
"Unfortunately, we only received this decision on Friday evening," said the spokesperson, which was the same day Verdasco had announced his withdrawal from the event.
But Verdasco said he was denied a spot in the tournament.
"I cannot play, I cannot earn points," he said, and added that he was being helped by the Spanish tennis federation.
"The federation called me to try to pursue together and obviously to try to get me some compensation for the harm they've caused me," he said.
Another player, Damir Dzumhur, was also withdrawn from Roland Garros when his coach, Petar Popovic, tested positive. Popovic, who also said he had previously had the coronavirus, has said he is initiating CAS proceedings against the tournament.
So far, eight players have been withdrawn from Roland Garros because either they or their coach tested positive. The tournament is being played with safety protocols approved by local authorities.