Antwerp—Goffin falls in return from COVID-19; Bergs relishes wild card

Antwerp—Goffin falls in return from COVID-19; Bergs relishes wild card

"It was a bit bizarre," Goffin said after losing his opener to Marcos Giron on Thursday night. "In three games, I already needed to recover."

David Goffin didn't have a regular buildup coming into this week, and it showed.

The top seed and home favorite at Antwerp fell in his opener to Marcos Giron, 6-3, 7-5—his first event since testing positive for coronavirus.

"I thought it was not bad. It could have been worse, I would say," he told press, speaking in French. ''Before the match, I didn't know what to expect really. I had good stretches, but I couldn't really hold them."

Goffin had tested positive around two weeks ago, withdrawing from St. Petersburg. Though saying his opponent was more consistent, Goffin described himself as fatigued.

"It was a bit bizarre," he said. "In three games, I already needed to recover."

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He was unsure if it was due to his illness. "There's a good chance," he said, but added, "Plus, when you haven't done anything for a couple of weeks, it's not simple."

His goal is still to play Vienna next week, though he has not yet decided whether he will compete.

"I'm going to see what my doctor thinks," Goffin said. "I'll tell him my feelings on court. If he tells me to be careful, I'll reconsider. But if not, I would like to go there."

Compatriot Zizou Bergs wasn't originally in the field, before emerging as the early story of the tournament.

The 21-year-old, ranked No. 528, got a wild card into the draw when fellow Belgian Ruben Bemelmans withdrew, having tested positive for coronavirus. Bergs defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the first round and then took No. 17 Karen Khachanov to three sets. It was his first ATP tour event.

"I had a unique chance to play this event," he told press. "I'm glad I could show something to Belgium and the world."

Bergs was cheered by his home crowd, frequently pumping his fist and reacting to shots as he pushed players ranked far above him.

"I'm a guy that likes emotions... the reaction of the crowds. It's really for that I like to play tennis," he said. "Recently, I was surprised what I could do in practice against very good players."

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Though he wasn't surprised by his level of tennis, he notes the next step is producing it at smaller events when few people are watching. But his showing his week has given him confidence in his ability.

"I know I have the game. I’m working hard every day, trying to improve my level. I need to work more on the mental part and bring it more often," he said.

Bergs will move up inside the Top 500 in the rankings.