Wimbledon was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic while the 2021 edition was run at reduced capacity with players confined to a bubble.
This year it is business as usual, with up to 42,000 fans each day, while players are responsible for testing themselves if necessary. That has led to fears that some will risk playing on at the tournament even if they are exhibiting symptoms.
“At the end of the day if you have got a bit of a cold, you play main draw of Wimbledon for £50,000 and a chance of more,” said British player Liam Broady. “I’m not sure some of the lower-ranked guys are going to Scout’s honour take themselves away and do a Covid test.”
Rafael Nadal had practised with Berrettini at the All England Club last week but said on Tuesday after his opening match that he was “feeling great”.
Nadal said he had been told by a physio from the ATP men’s tour that it was up to players to decide whether they tested or not.
“Now if you tell me even if you are positive, you can keep playing, this is something I didn’t know,” said the two-time Wimbledon champion. “The only thing I used to know is up to you, even if you feel bad, if you want to be tested or not.”
The All England Club told AFP that its Covid-19 policy “is constantly under review”. Berrettini, Cilic and Bautista Agut had all been placed in the same half of the draw as Nadal.
French player Alize Cornet added to questions over the health protocols in tennis by claiming there had been an “epidemic of Covid” at the recent French Open but “nobody talked about it”.
“I saw girls wearing masks, perhaps because they knew and did not want to pass it on,” she said. Hours later, Cornet rowed back on her claims, writing on social media that she only “suspected a few cases of Covid during Roland Garros, without having any proof”.
Meanwhile, Australian Nick Kyrgios delivered a devastating serving masterclass as he blasted past Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 in 85 minutes to charge into the third round.
There were none of the complaints or run-ins with fans that were of a feature of his first-round match – Kyrgios barely had time – as he pounded down 24 aces, with only one double fault overall.
Krajinovic, ranked 31st but seen as a dangerous floater on grass after reaching the Queens Club final earlier this month, could do nothing in the face of the barrage as Kyrgios did not let up from start to finish.
“I was in my zone today, I couldn’t have played better,” he said.
“It’s a tournament where I feel it’s my chance to win a Grand Slam, but I’ll take it game-by-game.”
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