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Seven Shut In After Contact with Paire

By Tennis Now

A 40-minute card game among friends is costing several French players travel time.

Seven players who came into contact with Benoit Paire during a card game will be confined to the US Open's bubble within a bubble until September 12th, French publication L'Equipe reports.

More: Paire Reveals Negative COVID-19 Test

Five French players—Grégoire Barrere, Édouard Roger-Vasselin, Kristina Mladenovic, Adrian Mannarino and Richard Gasquet—as well as Belgians Kirsten Flipkens and Ysaline Bonaventure cannot leave New York until September 12th, according to the L'Equipe report. That September 12th date is 14 days after the players played cards with Paire, who tested positive for Coronavirus.

Paire was withdrawn from the US Open due to a positive COVID-19 test. But Paire took to his Instagram account to say that he then tested negative on Monday and subsequently suggested on Instagram Live he may have suffered a false-positive test.

Tennis Express

The confinement to the bubble within a bubble may well jeopardize the players' participation in Rome, which is set for September 14th-21st. Gasquet, Barrere and Flipkens were planning to play Rome qualifying, which begins on September 12th.

French officials tried to negotiate an early departure date for the players, but those talks ultimately came up short, the publication reports.

The 32nd-seeded Mannarino was scheduled to face fifth-seeded Alexander Zverev in a US Open third-rounder on Louis Armstrong Stadium today. However that match was delayed for hours until both eventually took the court. The USTA released this statement on the delay:

The Zverev-Mannarino match was delayed while a collaborative dialogue with health officials was conducted today. Communication with the players was ongoing during the afternoon to keep them updated at all times. Given the sensitivity of the medical issues involved, the USTA is not able to provide further details.

French Fed Cup hero Mladenovic blew a 6-1, 5-1 lead and four match points suffering an epic collapse in the US Open second round.

In her Grand Slam debut, 20-year-old Varvara Gracheva roared back winning 12 of the final 13 games in an improbable 1-6, 7-6, 6-0 comeback conquest of a gutted Mladenovic, who conceded "At 5-2, I just collapsed. I have nothing more to say, I’m completely devastated.”

Reigning Australian doubles champions Mladenovic and Timea Babos are the top-seeded team in the US Open women's doubles draw.

Asked about living in the USTA's "enhanced protocol plan", essentially a bubble within a bubble for those who interacted with Paire, Mladenovic trashed the experience as "a nightmare" and said she felt like "a prisoner."

“We have no freedom of movement, of identity, of nothing," Mladenovic said. "I have the impression that we are prisoners, that we are criminals. For the slightest movement, you have to ask permission, while we are tested every day, we have had thirty negative tests!

“If I had known that playing cards for 40 minutes with a player who tested positive, but ultimately negative, would have resulted in these consequences, I would never have set foot in this tournament.”

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve