NEW YORK — Adrian Mannarino was preparing to head on court to play in the U.S. Open’s third round when, he explained later, he got word that the state of New York wanted to get involved in whether the 32nd-seeded Frenchman should be allowed to compete.
That’s because Mannarino was one of seven players under extra restrictions during the tournament after contact tracing determined they potentially could have been exposed to COVID-19 by Benoit Paire, the only entrant to test positive.
The city had given the OK for those seven to stay in the draw, Mannarino said, but now the state government was interested in the matter. So the start of the match was delayed and Mannarino — and his opponent, No. 5 Alexander Zverev — awaited a decision.
The USTA said the match was delayed “while a collaborative dialogue with health officials was conducted.”
“It was a weird situation for me. I didn’t know what to think,” Mannarino said. “I was just laying on the sofa, still trying to be focused, just in case I would go on court.”
Eventually he did, heading to the court about 2 1/2 hours later than originally planned, but a groin injury hampered him during a 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 loss to Zverev in Louis Armstrong Stadium.
“I was told that there is very little chance that we were going to play. … I was kind of waiting around and seeing,” Zverev said. “I’m happy that he was able to play, but in the beginning, I was a little bit cold.”
Even though Mannarino’s tournament is done, he can’t head home. He said he was told he must stay in his New York hotel room under quarantine for at least another week.
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