Wimbledon 2021 runner-up Matteo Berrettini absent with COVID-19

By HOWARD FENDRICH

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Matteo Berretinifinalist last year Wimbledondropped out of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament hours before he was due to play his first-round match on Tuesday, saying he had tested positive for COVID-19.

The All England Club announced the withdrawal of Berrettini, and he posted about it on Instagramsaying he was “heartbroken” and self-isolating “for the past few days” after experiencing flu-like symptoms.

He is the second top player to withdraw from the draw in the first two days due to illness caused by the coronavirus, joining 2014 US Open champion and 2017 Wimbledon runner-up Marin Cilic.

After being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, then implementing a bubble-like environment and restricting attendance in 2021 to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Wimbledon is back to normal in every way , without obligation to wear a mask, full crowds and the famous Waiting line back to action.

“Although the symptoms are not serious, I have decided it is important to have another test this morning to protect the health and safety of my fellow competitors and everyone else involved in the tournament,” he said. Berrettini wrote in his post, which included a black and white. white photo of him hitting a serve at Wimbledon.

“I have no words to describe the extreme disappointment I feel,” he said. “The dream is over for this year, but I will come back stronger.”

The eighth-seeded Italian spent some time training with Rafael Nadal on center court last week and also came across Novak Djokovic there.

Berrettini was scheduled to face 44th-placed Cristian Garín in the first round on Tuesday. Berrettini was replaced on the pitch by Elias Ymer, who lost in qualifying but will now face Garín.

Berrettini was seen as a title contender for Wimbledon, both because of his run last year to his first Grand Slam final at the All England Club before losing to Djokovic – and because of his recent form on grass .

“I mean, he’s definitely (one of) the best two, three players in the world on grass in the last three years. I mean, his results reflect that,” Djokovic said of Berrettini on Monday. Probably, it’s his favorite surface, for his game it’s the most suitable surface, so there’s a lot of expectation for him to go far in this tournament.

Berrettini, 26, who relies on big serves and big forehands, won two tune-up tournaments this month, going 9-0 in Stuttgart, Germany, and Queen’s Club in London.

This is how he returned to action after being sidelined since March due to right-hand surgery.

Overall, since the start of 2019, he is 32-3 on grass. Two of those three losses have come against six-time Wimbledon winner Djokovic and eight-time champion Roger Federer.

Another player left the tournament on Tuesday when Danka Kovinic withdrew with a lower back injury. She was replaced on the pitch by Lesley Pattinama Kerkhove, who takes on Sonay Kartal.

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More AP Wimbledon coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/wimbledon and https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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