OLYMPIC GAMES | TENNIS

Coco Gauff tests positive for covid-19 dashing Olympic dreams

Covid-19 postponed the Olympics for a year, now it’s forcing top athletes out of the competition, tennis star Coco Gauff withdrew after testing positive.

Coco Gauff tests positive for covid-19 dashing Olympic dreams
GLYN KIRK AFP

The teen tennis phenom Coco Gauff announced over social media that she would not be able to participate in this year's Olympic Games after testing positive for covid-19. The announcement came just days before the start of the Tokyo Olympics where she was expected to lead the 12-person Team USA squad.

The news comes as the cases of covid-19 are removing other players from a chance to go for the Gold at an Olympics delayed for a year due to the covid-19 pandemic. It was reported over the weekend that the first case of covid-19 was reported at the athletes' village despite the controls put into place to prevent the spread of the virus.

Gauff would have been one of the youngest US Olympians

Coco Gauff, just 17 years old, would have been the second youngest tennis player to represent the US at an Olympic Games. Mario Ancic formed part of the US selection in the 2000 Sydney Games at 16 years of age.

Coco Gauff is currently the youngest ranked player, at 25th, in the Women’s Tennis Association top 100. At this year’s French Open she made her first Grand Slam quarter-final appearance after beating Ons Jadeur in straight sets.

Coco Gauff was expected to lead the US squad after Serena Williams and Sofia Kenin decided not to be on the US team roster. They join a growing list of top players that will not be competing in the Tokyo Olympics including Angelique Kerber, Bianca Andreescu and Simona Halep for the women’s line-up.

Big names in men’s tennis such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Matteo Berrettini and Dominic Thiem have announced their absence from the games as well.

“I am so disappointed to share the news”

The news of Coco Gauff’s absence from the Tokyo Olympics came Sunday when she shared over Twitter that she had tested positive. “I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Gauff wrote. “It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.

She ended her message with the best wishes for her teammates and all other Olympians and the Olympic community at large “I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family,” she tweeted.

“We wish her the best as she deals with this unfortunate situation"

The announcement was met with heartbreak from the US Tennis Association which in a statement said “We were saddened to learn that Coco Gauff has tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore be unable to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.” Adding “The entire USA Tennis Olympic contingent is heartbroken for Coco.”

The statement finished “We wish her the best as she deals with this unfortunate situation and hope to see her back on the courts very soon. We know Coco will join all of us in rooting on the other Team USA members who will be traveling to Japan and competing in the coming days.”