Belinda Bencic Pulls Out From Prague Open 2020 After Player Tested COVID-19 Positive in Palermo

Published 08/03/2020, 8:26 AM EDT


World No. 8 women’s tennis player Belinda Bencic has withdrawn from the 2020 Prague Open just a couple of days after a player tested positive at the WTA Palermo Open. The Italian event is the first WTA event since the restart of the women’s tennis tour.

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Bencic did not specifically state a reason for her withdrawal from the event that begins next week. She is replaced in the draw by world number 59, Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

“I regret not participating in the tournament. I wish the organizers to be able to organize a successful event,” Bencic said in a statement announcing her withdrawal.

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Bencic will now focus on hard-court tournaments in the build-up to the Western and Southern Open, and the US Open.

Belinda Bencic refuses to play against player who returned from Palermo Open

In a major controversy at a Swiss event, Belinda Bencic refused to step on the court in a Swiss interclub team tournament against fellow Swiss player Leonie Küng.

Küng had just returned from the Palermo Open where a player tested positive for the coronavirus and is in isolation since. Küng was present at the event but had tested negative. She was cleared by the doctors to play. Bencic and her team decided that they did not want to take any risks and refused to face Küng. Küng and her team decided to withdraw from the event as a protest.

Halep and Vondrousova to play Prague Open

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep, Petra Martic, and French Open 2019 finalist Marketa Vondrousova are all slated to play at the event.

Tournament director David Trunda said that they are not expecting any more major withdrawals from the event.

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“We are in daily contact with all the players and their managers. We have no indication that any further withdrawals should come and are still preparing for the participation of an extremely strong line-up,” Trunda said.

“We still have a few wild cards available. We are negotiating them with WTA and Czech Tennis Association,” Trunda added further.

The Prague event will be the second clay-court event since the resumption of the WTA Tour, after the ongoing Palermo Open.

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Source – Prague Open, SRF

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Aayush Majumdar

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Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.

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