Mon, 25 Jan 2021

© Provided by Xinhua | American Denis Kudla serves during the men's singles third round match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia at the 2019 US Open tennis championships in New York, the United States, Aug. 30, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

U.S. tennis player Denis Kudla tested positive for COVID-19 at the Australian Open qualifiers while his Moroccan Elliot Benchetrit suffered a "double whammy".

SYDNEY, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- U.S. tennis player Denis Kudla tested positive for COVID-19 at the Australian Open qualifiers in Doha on Monday, with officials interrupting his match to deliver the result.

Kudla is the second player forced to withdraw from the event due to a positive test, joining Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo in hotel quarantine, several media outlets reported.

"Local health authorities, the tournament physician and medical team are monitoring each individual. Contact tracing is currently underway to notify close contacts," Tennis Australia said in a statement.

Despite being rushed into quarantine, world No. 114 ranked Kudla was declared the winner of his match against Moroccan Elliot Benchetrit, 6-4, 6-3, having led 5-3 in the second set when the match was interrupted.

According to Benchetrit, the duo were allowed to finish the game to round off the match, which delivered a disappointing result for the Moroccan, who is also now concerned about contracting the disease.

"Now we're waiting to see if I'm considered a close contact or not. And if I am, it's a double whammy because I lost the match, played against a positive guy and they didn't get the result before the match," Benchetrit said on social media.

A Tennis Australia spokesperson told Xinhua that all players starting in the tournament had returned at least one negative test since arriving into Doha.

"All players were tested on arrival in Doha and isolated until they returned a negative result. Only then can they enter the controlled tournament environment," the spokesperson said.

Players for the Australian Open, scheduled to begin on February 8, will also be tested on arrival and isolate until they receive a negative test. They will then complete 14 days of mandatory quarantine during which they will be tested every day.

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