NEW YORK – French tennis player Benoit Paire tested positive for the coronavirus and was removed from the U.S. Open field, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Sunday.
Paire is the first player to test positive ahead of the Grand Slam tournament, which begins Monday without spectators amid the pandemic.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because Paire’s status had not been announced by the U.S. Tennis Association. The USTA later issued a statement saying a player — whom it did not identify by name — “has been withdrawn” from the U.S. Open after testing positive for COVID-19. The statement said the player is asymptomatic.
The 31-year-old Paire was seeded 17th and was supposed to face Kamil Majchrzak of Poland in the first round on Tuesday. Paire’s spot in the draw was filled by 149th-ranked Marcel Granollers, who now plays Majchrzak.
Contact tracing will try to determine who might have been exposed to Paire and needs to be quarantined.
His positive test was first reported by French newspaper L’Equipe.
The person who spoke to the AP said Paire’s result was the second that came back positive out of more than 7,000 tests for COVID-19 administered by the USTA so far as part of its “controlled environment” for the U.S. Open and the Western & Southern Open.
“There’s so many people involved in this tournament. The possibility that somebody is going to be positive is pretty high. I just wish all the best to Benoit. Hopefully nobody else is positive, as well. That’s the most important thing,” said Dominic Thiem, a three-time Grand Slam runner-up who is seeded No. 2 at the U.S. Open.