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All-American Tennis Team Cup in Atlanta Presses On Despite Tiafoe’s Positive Coronavirus Test

Frances Tiafoe tested positive for COVID-19 after playing an exhibition match at the DraftKings All-American Team Cup in Atlanta on Friday.


By Ricky Dimon

The hits just keep on coming for tennis. Nonetheless, there will be some more hitting on the court this weekend in Atlanta, Ga.

Frances Tiafoe, a participant in the All-American Team Cup in Atlanta, tested positive for the coronavirus on Saturday morning. Despite that disappointing development, the event continued on Saturday and is set for its finale on Sunday.

Unfortunately, I tested positive late Friday for Covid-19 and have to withdraw,” Tiafoe wrote on Twitter. “Over the past two months, I have been training in Florida and tested negative there as recently as a week ago.”

The 22-year-old said following his victory over Sam Querrey on Friday that he had not been feeling well for a few days. That suggests he picked up the virus while training in Florida, before arriving in Atlanta.

“Following his match, [Tiafoe] was showing symptoms and was retested and tested positive,” event officials stated. “Tiafoe has left the event site and will not participate in the remainder of the event. Upon learning this information, we immediately began deep cleaning and sanitizing the event site, and enacted protocols in place for contact tracing and alerting individuals who may have been exposed. The health and safety of our event participants, staff and attendees are a top priority, and we will continue to diligently enforce all guidelines from local health officials. Christopher Eubanks will replace Tiafoe for the remainder of the event.”

Tiafoe after his Friday win in Atlanta.

Eubanks faced Sandgren on Saturday afternoon and pulled off a 6-3, 7-6(5) upset. Team Stars–the youngsters–also needed a replacement when Reilly Opelka withdrew citing a knee problem. Kevin King filled in and got waxed 6-1, 6-1 by five-time BB&T Atlanta Open champion John Isner. Isner’s win contributed to what is now a commanding 9-3 lead for Team Stripes–the old guys.

Isner has come under fire on social media for hailing this event as “safe” while calling people are afraid of the virus “coronabros.”

There are, of course, both sides to the argument. Tiafoe was already sick before playing, so nothing–yet–confirms that the Atlanta festivities are unsafe. Protocols are certainly safer than what transpired at Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour last month. In Atlanta, no more than 30 percent of the stadium capacity is allowed, there are no linespeople or ballpersons, and players used their own tennis balls while serving. At the same time, there are fair concerns as to whether the event should continue in the wake of Tiafoe’s positive test. And plenty of people consider anything more than zero fans as too many.

Stay tuned for Sunday….

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.