10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Gilles Simon Out of U.S. Open 2021 Because of Close Contact With Positive Coach, Says he Will Think About Vaccine

French tennis player Gilles Simon in action against Spanish Pablo Andujar during the first round match of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell Conde Godo Tennis tournament, an ATP World Tour 500 category, played at Tennis Royal Court of Barcelona, Spain, 19 April 2021. Photo credit: EPA-EFE/Alejandro Garcia

By Ricky Dimon

The fact that the 2020 U.S. Open happened at all was a huge success, but it was held without fans and there were all kinds of coronavirus-related issues along the way.

Fast forward 12 months and the Covid-19 pandemic is showing no signs of ending. Fans are allowed at Flushing Meadows this time around, but that doesn’t mean the tennis world is now immune to the virus. In fact, the first Covid-19 casualty of the 2021 tournament was confirmed this past weekend. French veteran Gilles Simon was forced to withdraw because his coach, Étienne Laforgue, tested positive–and Simon was obviously considered a close contact.

Laforgue was positive upon arrival in New York last Thursday. Thus he and Simon are relegated to quarantine and the 36-year-old is out of the season’s final Grand Slam.

“I’m in contact and I’m stuck at the hotel for 10 days without being able to play,” Simon told the French newspaper L’Equipe. “I learned that on Friday morning, being in contact with my coach. We arrived in New York on Thursday night and his test came back positive. He feels a little feverish. For me, the test was negative.”

Like more than 50 percent of professional tennis players according to reports, Simon is unvaccinated at the moment. However, he says he plans to get the vaccine at some point.

“Basically, I really didn’t want to,” Simon said. “I’m not very scared of the Covid, actually. My basic philosophy is: if you’re afraid of it, you get vaccinated; if not, no. It remains a choice…. The point is that you are being forced everywhere to get vaccinated. I am one of those who dragged their feet a bit and who will end up doing so.

“Given the conditions, I thought I was going to get the vaccine (before the U.S. Open). But I didn’t have the time to do it with the deadlines for the full vaccination cycle. I came home late from the Olympics and then I didn’t want to get vaccinated during a tournament cycle because there may be less good days with the vaccine.”

The world No. 103 was supposed to play Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the first round. He was replaced in the draw by a lucky loser.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

Editors Note • Sad and a pity for Gilles. But sadly he still doesn’t get “it”. Re : Tennis being played inside either stadium with roofs closed. Neither “breathe” when closed. They are almost sauna like… Should there really be spectators there ? Minus even masks ? Word was conditions the same as outdoors ? No masks required …Ok. Today’s the first day. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident among these “essential workers “ …(LJ)