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Babos slams ‘injustice’ of US Open exclusion

Hungary’s Timea Babos slammed the “injustice” of her exclusion from the US Open on Sunday, a day after she and doubles partner Kristina Mladenovic were kicked out of the tournament.

Top seeds Babos and French partner Mladenovic were told on Saturday they would not be allowed to take part in the doubles after New York officials ordered Mladenovic to quarantine.

Mladenovic was one of several players who was in contact with player Benoit Paire, who was withdrawn on the eve of the competition last Sunday after testing positive for coronavirus.

In a post on Instagram, Babos, who had no contact with Paire and was not required to undergo quarantine, said she had been left distraught by her and Mladenovic’s exclusion.

“I’m at home. I’m sitting in my kitchen and crying,” Babos wrote. “I’m just starting to realise what happened and I don’t understand. It’s terribly unfair.

“I don’t see any reasonable reason why it turned out like this.”

Babos pointed out that Mladenovic had taken multiple tests for COVID-19 in the past week and all had come back negative.

“Let’s look at the facts: Benoit Paire’s positive test dated back ten days before (after 4 negatives) and in recent days his results were negative,” Babos said. “The others close to him have never tested positive. Kiki (Mladenovic) has had 11 — repeat 11 — negative tests for Covid-19. And yet, we were locked up,” the 27-year-old Hungarian added.

Babos also contrasted her treatement with the fact that France’s Adrian Mannarino — one of those who had been in contact with Paire — was allowed to play against Alex Zverev in the third round on Friday.

“On Friday they went out of their way to ensure that Mannarino could play. He was allowed to play and, the next day, we were not. It is simply an injustice! Incomprehensible! It’s not fair.”

Babos said she had been in two minds about whether to compete in this year’s US Open, which several players have skipped citing concerns over COVID-19.

“I was asking myself a lot of questions,” she said. “But I’m an athlete, I want to compete. They deprived us of a chance to lift a Grand Slam trophy, not to mention the material side and the psychological damage!

“But why? I don’t know, I don’t understand.”


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