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Zverev says he was told there was ‘very little chance’ Mannarino match would be played


TENNIS

Zverev says he was told there was ‘very little chance’ Mannarino match would be played

Former world number three Zverev is aiming to fulfil his promise and win a maiden Grand Slam titleVenue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 31 Aug-13 SeptCoverage: Selected live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds, the BBC Sport website and app.German fifth seed Alexander Zverev says he was told…

Zverev says he was told there was ‘very little chance’ Mannarino match would be played
Alexander Zverev reaches for a ball against Adrian Mannarino at the 2020 US Open
Former world number three Zverev is aiming to fulfil his promise and win a maiden Grand Slam title
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York Dates: 31 Aug-13 Sept
Coverage: Selected live radio and text commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Sounds, the BBC Sport website and app.

German fifth seed Alexander Zverev says he was told there was “very little chance” his US Open third-round match with Adrian Mannarino would be played because of coronavirus restrictions.

The match started nearly three hours late before Zverev won in four sets.

The US Tennis Association said the delay was a result of a “collaborative dialogue with health officials”.

Zverev said: “I was told there is very little chance we’d play. I was waiting around and very relaxed. I was happy he could play.

“He was about Benoit Paire so I guess the New York State called and said he shouldn’t play. It was political, it was not us players just sitting around.”

The statement from the organisers came shortly after the players started their match at Flushing Meadows around 17:15 local time (22:15 BST).

Before that, there was no explanation about why the match on Louis Armstrong Stadium had been delayed for two hours and 45 minutes.

“Communication with the players was ongoing during the afternoon to keep them updated at all times,” said the USTA, which added it would not provide more details “given the sensitivity of the medical issues involved”.

Once play eventually got under way, Mannarino threatened to cause an upset by taking the first-set tie-break.

Zverev, 23, edged a tight second set before improving considerably in the third and fourth to turn the match around for a 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 6-2 6-2 victory.

The German world number seven was also helped by Mannarino’s movement being hampered by a leg injury.

“There is a lot of room for improvement, I’m not at my best yet,” said Zverev, who faces Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina next.

Players in the ‘bubble within the bubble’ unhappy with USTA

On Sunday, French number 17 seed Paire was replaced in the men’s singles draw by Spain’s Marcel Granollers at the behind-closed-doors Grand Slam in New York.

The USTA has not named Paire but the player wrote on social media on Monday that he feels “fine for the moment” and has no symptoms.

Those who had been in contact with Paire were told they could still play in the tournament because they were being put in a “bubble within the bubble”.

That meant they were not withdrawn from the event but had to stay, practise and train in separate areas to the rest of the main bubble.

It led to accusations of rule-changing by the USTA from Argentine player Guido Pella, who was forced to pull out of last week’s Western and Southern Open, along with Bolivian player Hugo Dellien, because their fitness trainer tested positive.

Both Pella, seeded 29th, and Dellien went on to lose in their US Open first-round matches.

The USTA has also faced criticism from players within the group which had been in contact with Paire.

Belgian Kirsten Flipkens said officials told them on Thursday they could not leave the US until next weekend but were able to continue following the same protocols.

However, later on Friday she said they had now been told to quarantine in their rooms.

Flipkens, who lost in the singles on Wednesday and then in the doubles on Thursday, posted a video on Instagram showing her unable to open a window in her room and accompanied by the Queen song I Want to Break Free.

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