French tennis player Kristina Mladenovic made a phenomenal start during her second-round match at the US Open 2020. 30th seed Kiki was leading by 6-1, 5-1 against 20-year-old Varvara Gracheva from Russia. Also, she had four match points at 5-2 (40-0*) under her belt.
But eventually, the young Russian turned the tables and pulled off an incredible 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-0 victory at the New York Major. Post her loss, she reflected on the bubble environment. That has been created by the tournament in order to ensure safety amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
She was one of the players who came in contact with Benoit Paire. Before the beginning of the tournament, he was tested positive for COVID-19 and consequently withdrew from the event.
Kiki was prohibited from using the fitness center and other public places as she had been in the vicinity of Paire. She was only allowed to play her matches, and in short, she did not like treatment that was meted out to her inside the US Open bubble.
“I was playing well but I was on the edge. It is abominable what they make us experience. I want to regain my freedom. I have a feeling that we are prisoners,” she stated after her devastating loss. (Quotes have been translated)
“I would like to say so many things about what is happening here – it is abominable how we get treated – but I don’t want to use it as an excuse for my defeat,” she added.
Earlier, her compatriot Paire criticized the tournament by billing it as a ‘fake bubble’ at US Open. Later, the tournament responded to the ‘fake bubble’ accusations.
They said, “It was clearly stated that the player who contracted the virus was not following New York State approved health protocols.”
After overcoming Mladenovic, Varvara Gracheva sets up her third-round clash against eighth seed Petra Martic from Croatia. It’s her first-ever main draw appearance at Grand Slam, previously she lost in the last round of qualifiers at the Australian Open 2020 and US Open 2019.