‘I was completely sick… I can’t really breathe and I had fever as well’: Alexander Zverev reveals he has coronavirus symptoms with German suffering temperature overnight before crashing out of the French Open with defeat to Jannik Sinner
- Alexander Zverev was beaten by Jannik Sinner in the French Open fourth round
- Zverev said he could hardly breathe and was completely sick during the night
- The German admitted he should not have played his defeat to Jannik Sinner
- Simona Halep also suffered a shot defeat to relative unknown Iga Swiatek
Covid controversy has stalked Alex Zverev all summer and on Sunday it reared up again when he departed the French Open admitting he had played while feeling ill.
The sixth seed was beaten in four sets in his fourth-round match by 19-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner and later told the media he should not have taken to the court in the first place.
‘I was completely sick in the night after the match with Marco Cecchinato (on Friday),’ he said. ‘I can’t really breathe as you can hear by my voice. I had fever as well. I’m not in the best physical state, I would say.’
German star Alexander Zverev has admitted he played while feeling ill at the French Open
But the 23-year-old German nevertheless decided to play his fourth-round French Open match
Players are tested every five days for coronavirus and an event spokesperson said that, while up to date, the German was due a new one after being found negative on Tuesday, September 29.
He did not consult medical staff before playing and the safety protocol for the event calls for players to ‘adopt a responsible attitude and not attend the stadium’ if they feel unwell.
It isn’t the first time Zverev has behaved recklessly with Covid-19, having attended Novak Djokovic’s notorious Adria Tour. He was then pictured partying in a French restaurant within a week of returning from that.
Zverev was defeated in four sets by Italian Jannik Sinner at Roland Garros as he crashed out
And speaking to the press afterwards he admitted he had had a fever and was completely sick
His defeat was far from the biggest upset of the day.
Iga Swiatek turned up at Roland Garros on Sunday morning as a little-known contender and by lunchtime found herself marginal favourite to win the tournament.
The 19-year-old from Poland took just 68 minutes to pull off the biggest upset of the week by dismissing the player who had looked the tournament’s most likely winner, Simona Halep, 6-1, 6-2.
All around there were indications of what a strange event this has become for the women. Shortly afterwards Martina Trevisan, a 26-year-old Italian whose career has been badly affected by anorexia, made it through to face Swiatek in the quarter-finals when she knocked out the fifth seed, Kiki Bertens of Holland.
Iga Swiatek (above) took just 68 minutes to beat former French open favourite Simona Halep
It is the first French Open main draw for Trevisan, who has come completely from left field. Before this her only brush with recognition was that she played the first official tennis match after lock- down on August 1 in the qualifying event at the Palermo Ladies’ Open. Swiatek is a former winner of the junior Wimbledon title and on Sunday she faced the reigning SW19 women’s champion.
The Pole, whose father rowed in the 1998 Olympics, made the fourth round in Paris last year where she was destroyed 6-1, 6-0 by the same opponent as Sunday.
This time she destroyed Halep, whose movement was sluggish and game error-prone in contrast to previous rounds. This will go down as a huge missed opportunity for her.
Halep (above)’s movement was sluggish and game error-prone in contrast to previous rounds
‘I’m stunned,’ said Swiatek. ‘I was thinking about last year because it was a huge lesson for me. It wasn’t like I was scared because of that — because I lost in 45 minutes last year. It was kind of motivating for me just to play better.’
Her fellow 19-year-old Sinner now faces Rafael Nadal, who brought the run of young American Sebastian Korda to an end with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 victory.
US Open champion Dominic Thiem narrowly survived into the quarter-finals last night when he edged out 20-year-old French wildcard Hugo Gaston 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3.
World No 239 Gaston received what passes this year for a huge ovation after nearly ousting the Austrian through the repeated use his brilliant dropshot. Thiem will now play Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.