Tokyo Olympics: Coco Gauff tests positive for COVID, out of the Games

By Sports Desk July 18, 2021

Coco Gauff has tested positive for COVID-19 and must miss the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the American tennis prodigy announced on Sunday.

Gauff, who reached the last-16 stage at Wimbledon before losing to Angelique Kerber, has passed the $1million mark for prize-money in a season for the first time this year, rising to 25th in the WTA rankings.

The 17-year-old has a win-loss record of 31-12 for the campaign so far, and won the Emilia-Romagna Open title on clay in May.

She announced her news on social media, writing: "I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won't be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

"It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future. I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe Games for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family."

The United States Tennis Association said it was "saddened" by the news, adding: "The entire USA Tennis Olympic contingent is heartbroken for Coco.

"We wish her the best as she deals with this unfortunate situation and hope to see her back on the courts very soon. We know Coco will join all of us in rooting on the other Team USA members who will be travelling to Japan and competing in the coming days."

Gauff joins a host of star names from tennis who have been ruled out, or have ruled themselves out, of the trip to Tokyo.

Serena Williams decided she would not play even before suffering a leg injury at Wimbledon, while Simona Halep, Sofia Kenin, Victoria Azarenka, Bianca Andreescu and Kerber are among other major absentees from the women's draw.

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  • Australian Open: 'I'm good at being me' – Barty will continue to play her own game in bid for Melbourne glory Australian Open: 'I'm good at being me' – Barty will continue to play her own game in bid for Melbourne glory

    World number one Ash Barty promised to carry on playing her own game after booking her spot in the last eight of the Australian Open.

    Barty, the top seed, defeated Amanda Anisimova 6-4 6-3 on Sunday to progress to the quarter-finals in Melbourne for a fourth successive time.

    Anisimova defeated last year's champion Naomi Osaka in the last round, but she proved no match for Barty, who sealed the win in 74 minutes.

    Barty did see her run of holding serve ended, however, after 63 games without being broken, though it was a minor blip in another convincing win. 

    Indeed, the 25-year-old has now won all four of her Australian Open ties without dropping a set.

    Asked what was key to her dominant form, Barty said: "I think the most important thing is I just try to be me, continue to be me, that's all I can do.

    "That's what I’m good at, that's who I and who I want to be."

    Her comments were well received by the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, and Barty is delighted to be playing in front of spectators once again.

    "The last two years have been extraordinarily tough for a lot of people around the world," she said.

    "To have the crowd here, it brings a lot more to the tennis. It makes it a lot more enjoyable for me to play at home."

    Barty struck seven aces and registered a first-serve percentage of 78, while also hitting 23 winners and making exactly half the amount of unforced errors as Anisimova (17 to 34).

    "Amanda is an incredible athlete and incredible competitor. It's nice to see her back playing her best tennis," Barty continued.

    "I enjoyed sharing the court with her and testing myself against her. It was nice to be able to hold firm tonight."

    Asked in a post-match news conference about dropping serve for the first time in eight matches, Barty replied: "It didn't bother me too much.

    "Honestly, I'm not counting how many games I hold in a row or not. The fact I was able to reset, break straight back, was really important, just to be able to reset myself, go again and continue to do the right things."

    Next up for Barty, a two-time major winner who is yet to taste victory in her home grand slam, is another American in the form of Jessica Pegula, who upset fifth seed Maria Sakkari 7-6 (7-0) 6-3.

    "It's going to be a challenge for me to try and push her off that baseline and make her uncomfortable and feel like she has to create," Barty told reporters.

    "But I know that she's also going to be doing the exact same thing to me and trying to make me uncomfortable.

    "That's the chess game that we play. You go out there and have fun with it, see who can execute better on the day, and that's about all there is to it."

  • Australian Open: Shapovalov honoured to be facing Nadal as Zverev admits 'everything' went wrong Australian Open: Shapovalov honoured to be facing Nadal as Zverev admits 'everything' went wrong

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    Zverev had been looking sharp in Melbourne over the last week, with the world number three not dropping a single set en route to the last 16.

    Yet the Olympic gold medallist was on the end of a straight-sets loss on Sunday as he went down 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 to Shapovalov.

    Zverev made 32 unforced errors, five fewer than Shapovalov, and managed to convert only two of five break points, with the German winning 46/67 first-serve points.

    Asked what went wrong, Zverev bluntly told reporters: "Everything.

    "It's no one else's fault. It's not the coach's fault, it's not my team's fault, it's no one else's fault. It's purely me.

    "As world number three, I have to take responsibility for the things I do and don't do.

    "I give credit to Denis. It's incredible that he's in the quarters, I think he deserves it. He's done a lot of work, improved his game.

    "But I've got to look at myself. Today was just, in my opinion, awful from my side."

    Shapovalov had lost to Zverev in the ATP Cup earlier this month, but after Sunday's win the duo's head-to-head record stands at 4-3 in the latter's favour.

    The 22-year-old Canadian will now face Nadal, with the 20-time grand slam winner having progressed to his 14th Australian Open final by defeating Adrian Mannarino.

    Nadal holds a 3-1 head-to-head record against Shapovalov, though this will be the first time the pair have met in a major.

    "It's always an honour to go up against a guy like Rafa," said Shapovalov after reaching his first Australian Open quarter-final.

    "It's always going to be a battle against him. It's going to be a tough one and I'm definitely going to enjoy it."

    Reflecting on just his second career win over a player in the top five, Shapovalov said: "I think off the ground I was playing really well, really feeling my shots off both wings.

    "I played pretty smart, it felt like things were going my way early on. I lost a little bit of momentum midway in the second set but fought well to come back and just kind of rolled with it after."

    It was also the first time in the tournament that Shapovalov had not had to go to at least four sets.

    "It's probably the one I least expected to finish in three. I'm very happy with my performance, definitely happy with where my game is at," he added.

  • Australian Open: Barty bests Anisimova to ease through to quarter-finals Australian Open: Barty bests Anisimova to ease through to quarter-finals

    Ash Barty's dominant form at the Australian Open continued as the world number one saw off Amanda Anisimova to reach the quarter-finals.

    Anisimova shocked 2021 champion Naomi Osaka in the last round but the in-form Barty proved a step too far on Sunday.

    Barty had not dropped a set in any of her previous matches and the Australian continued that trend with a 6-4 6-3 triumph that took just 74 minutes.

    The 25-year-old missed five chances to break before she finally nosed herself ahead in a tightly contested first set when Anisimova went long.

    Anisimova made the same mistake in the next game, failing to grasp the opportunity for an immediate response, and Barty struck a forehand winner to claim the set.

    World number 60 Anisimova responded by racing into a 40-0 lead at the start of the second set, only for some sloppy shots to allow Barty to haul herself level.

    The American held her nerve though and looked to be right back into it when she broke Barty in the next game.

    Yet two-time major winner Barty hit straight back, with a missed backhand from Anisimova gifting her a reprieve, and she did not look back, holding serve before breaking again to go 4-3 ahead.

    Anisimova saved two match points in her win over Osaka, yet another overhit backhand sent Barty through to a tie against Jessica Pegula at the first time of asking.

    DATA SLAM: BARTY'S HOLD STREAK OVER

    There was one negative for Barty, who failed to hold serve for the first time in 63 games when she was broken in the second set. However, the Queenslander responded to that streak ending with a display of her title-winning quality to reach a fourth successive Australian Open quarter-final.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Barty – 23/17
    Anisimova – 20/34

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Barty – 7/3
    Anisimova – 4/1

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Barty – 4/11
    Anisimova – 1/5

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