The 2020 US Open is facing a lot of backlash from the participants and fans around the world. This comes on the back of Benoit Paire testing positive for COVID-19, which forced the organizers to take stern and rapid decisions. Moreover, with all this drama happening, the officials are further creating chaos by altering schedules and even removing games from the list!
Well, nothing goes down as a fact without solid proof to back it up. Here’s the issue. #1 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos were scheduled to play the third game in Court 11, taking on Gabriela Dabrowski and Alison Riske in their R16 women’s doubles match.
As per schedule, Mladenovic and Babos were set to play their game in Court 11, following a men’s double’s game and a women’s singles fixture. But now, the preceding two games are in the schedule, but Mladenovic’s game is not even in the day calendar. It has disappeared!
Kristina Mladenovic was scheduled third on Court 11 for her doubles 2nd round alongside Babos (they are the top seeds).
That match has now disappeared from the schedule! pic.twitter.com/Ie9kMxxkee
— Reem Abulleil (@ReemAbulleil) September 5, 2020
This might be due to the fact that Mladenovic is one of the seven athletes who were in close contact with Paire before he contracted the virus. Hence, the timing of the fixture is yet to be finalized which now draws confusion on so many levels.
Even though the players are abiding to the protocols in the tournament’s “bubble,” they shouldn’t be asked to alter their original schedule just hours before their game. A similar incident occurred yesterday, when Sascha Zverev and Adrian Mannarino had their match delayed by more than 3 hours over health protocols.
Mannarino too, had been in close contact with Paire. Thus, the New York State Department was skeptical about allowing him to play the game. Meanwhile, all Zverev could do was patiently wait.
Alexander Zverev defends the US Open 2020 Organizers amid harsh criticism
23-year-old Alexander Zverev was seen calmly waiting for a final time to be announced for his game versus Mannarino. The Frenchman was furious that he was asked to quarantine and follow the protocols ahead of his game.
After repeated delays, the game finally happened and Zverev outplayed Mannarino in four sets. With a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 win in the bag, Zverev spoke to the media in an extremely calm manner. The former World No. 3 defended the organizers and displayed wonderful sportsmanship.
“I don’t know that. At the end of the day I always looked at the situation that what if I was in the same situation,” Zverev said. “I would have wanted my opponent or my fellow players to have an understanding for it. It was not his fault, It was not the US Open’s fault. It was just the situation. There were politics involved.”
Zverev’s sportsmanship won the day and the game for the German. Moreover, with the tournament moving forward like this, will there ever be a smooth conclusion? Postponing games at the last minute makes it even harder for the players. Competing from inside a bubble is a demanding task. Players require a solid schedule to match their mental preparations.
WTA insider posted a shocking update to fans on its twitter page. This is regarding Mladenovic’s game which was taken off the draw for unspecified reasons. But now, the intentions are clear, and as a result, the organizers have taken a controversial decision about the situation. Here’s the official tweet for further info:
No.1 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Timea Babos have been withdrawn from the doubles competition @usopen.
USTA Statement: pic.twitter.com/PqlQ50xOmj
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) September 5, 2020