American Denis Kudla has tested positive for COVID-19 at the Australian Open qualifying tournament in Doha and has been sent to a quarantine hotel.
Fourth-seeded Kudla downed Moroccan Elliot Benchetrit 6-4 6-3 but the match ended in controversy.
The positive COVID-19 text result reportedly came through with Kudla leading 5-3 in the second, and according to Benchetrit they had to finish the game in progress.
Because Kudla, the world No.114, won that game which wrapped up the match, he was declared the winner.
If Benchetrit had won the game, it would have been declared a walkover in his favour.
“At 5-3, they got the result. So to sum up: if I’d won that game at 5-3 to make it 5-4, I’d have qualified for the second round,” Benchetrit said on Instagram.
In another blow, Benchetrit may also have to isolate if he is deemed a close contact.
However, it was good news for teenage Queenslander Dane Sweeny, who was supposed to face Kudla in his second match, but instead moves straight into the final round of qualifying – which is being held offshore for the first time.
Benchetrit told the Tennis Majors website that players are bizarrely permitted to play before getting their test results, which have taken longer than expected.
“The concept of a test is to have the information up front, to not put the linespeople, the opponent or – quite simply – everyone the person might meet before or after their match in danger,” he said.
“There also are lucky losers who are waiting for a forfeit to be able to play, who travelled there for nothing.
“The draw is compromised; there will be a player in the third round of qualifications having played just one match.
“That’s also the problem.”
Benchetrit believes Kudla must have contracted the coronavirus in Doha, given this would have been his third test since arriving in Qatar.
© AAP 2021