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Guido Pella is still fuming about the tough set of circumstances he was forced to endure after his physiotherapist, Juan Galván, tested positive for Covid-19 days before the Western and Southern Open. The USTA, scrambling to protect its bubble and the health of the players inside it, decided to place Pella and Hugo Dellien in quarantine, as they had been in close contact with Galván.

What followed was excruciating for Pella and Dellien as the pair were withdrawn from the Western and Southern Open and forced to prepare for the US Open in incredibly difficult circumstances.

Speaking after his first-round loss to JJ Wolf in New York, in quotes transcribed by Tumaini Carayol, Pella aired out his grievances.

He said that he was eventually allowed to practice but he also believes that he was treated unfairly after he witnessed 11 players that were deemed to have been in close contact with Benoit Paire (who tested positive days before the US Open) get an altogether different treatment.

“We were practicing but in horrible conditions,” he said. “With security guards 24 hours, without leaving the room. We didn’t have anything. It was a very tough few weeks because we didn’t have anything from them. We didn’t have any answers.”

Pella says that it bothered him how the players that were in contact with Paire were given a better situation. Perhaps the US Open evolved, and is getting better at how to handle these types of situations now. Unfortunately, Pella and Dellien were the guinea pigs in this high-stakes game of quarantine roulette.

And they suffered.

“Imagine if you are on lockdown for two weeks and the Benoit case was like that?” Pella said. “One day after, he got the second test. Eleven players that were involved with close contact with Benoit. They were like ‘Okay you will have a bubble inside of the bubble and you will be allowed to practice and play the US Open.’ Imagine how you would feel if that happened to you?”

Both Pella and Dellien lost in first-round action at the US Open, and it’s no surprise, given what they went through. It should be mentioned that the French players in the "bubble inside the bubble" haven't had any picnic either. Kristina Mladenovic talked about how difficult it was after her round one win on Monday.

There's also a miscommunication that is driving Pella's frustration.

Pella said that originally he was led to believe that as long as he wasn’t rooming with a person who had tested positive for Covid-19, he would be able to go about his business, provided that he kept testing negative. But it wasn’t the case, which is why many players came out to vocally support Pella during press conference in New York.

Even Novak Djokovic talked about it:

“We were actually informed by the chief medical doctor of USTA, US Open, about a couple weeks ago when we had a conversation, all of us players, I think a lot of players on the call, about 30 or 40 players participating in the US Open, and we asked the question about this specific situation these two players are in,” he said. “He told us something that is obviously contrary to what was written in the waiver, as you probably read, the waiver is up to the contact tracing investigation process that had to be done by New York Health Department, and then when they determined whether those players were too close or not too close they can decide whether to disqualify them or not. So that’s what happened.”

“The worst part was in the protocol,” Pella said. “It was very specific that if we don’t share the same room with a person who gets tested positive, there is no problem, you can still practice no matter what. They changed that and I don’t know why.”

Pella says he and Dellien waited two days before they got a statement from the tournament after Galván tested positive. The players were told they would have to quarantine because they had been in close contact with their trainer.

Pella says that they were on the phone with the ATP for several hours a day asking why this was happening. They asked for courts, and balls, and exercise equipment, and eventually they got what they asked for but were not happy with it.

“We got a bike, we got different stuff, but very poor,” Pella said. “They got us a court 35 minutes away from the hotel, but the court, I swear to you, was nothing compared to the US Open. … the court was so bad, it was very tough for us to practice.”