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Why are so many players getting sick at the US Open?

Early in the second set of her second-round match on Thursday night, a ball bounced just out of Ons Jabeur’s reach, and she forfeited the point, throwing her arms in the air in exasperation.

On any normal day, Jabeur, the No. 5 seed, would probably have reached the ball in time to send it back down the line, but she played while ill.

Jabeur, who reached the final of the US Open last year, is among many players who have faced illness at this year’s tournament.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem retired in the second set of his second-round match, doubled at net due to what appeared to be a stomach problem. Emil Ruusuvuori withdrew from the tournament ahead of his first-round match, citing an unspecified illness. Tennys Sandgren, who failed to qualify, write the Xformerly known as Twitter, that he fell ill after returning from the tournament.

“I had the US open bug,” he said in another statement. jobadding: “in a way, I still feel like I’m in the tournament but at home.”

It’s not just the players. ESPN commentator John McEnroe said On Tuesday, he had tested positive for coronavirus after feeling unwell.

It’s unclear if all the players are suffering from the same disease or if their cases are linked, but something is happening around the US Open.

Hubert Hurkacz appeared to struggle in his second-round match on Thursday when he was upset by Britain’s Jack Draper. During the match, medical personnel came to treat Hurkacz for what did not appear to be a physical injury. Around the tennis courts, sniffles and coughs are heard, and some players carry tissues in their bags.

This series of illnesses comes as a late summer surge of coronavirus infections was reported across the United States, with indications of an increase in cases in the Northeast and the United States. West.

Illnesses are possible at any tournament, where players are often in close proximity and sharing facilities. But since players are no longer required to be tested for Covid-19, it is difficult to determine the cause of the disease among them.

Sanitary protocols at the US Open have become less stringent since 2020, when spectators were not allowed to attend the tournament and players took to empty courts wearing masks.

When fans were allowed back in 2021, they had to show proof of coronavirus vaccination. That requirement has since been dropped, and those attending the US Open this year do not need to show proof of vaccination, provide a negative coronavirus test or wear masks.

After managing — barely — to pick up a first-round victory, Jabeur said she had the flu. In her second-round match, she appeared to be struggling again, coughing several times on the court, including during her interview after beating unseeded Czech player Linda Noskova in straight sets.

Jabeur later told a press conference Thursday that she had been ill for about a week.

“I take a lot of medication,” she said, adding that she was “taking just about every medication” available to the US Open doctors.

Jabeur said her stomach was “fine,” but noted that she knew other players had had stomach issues. She seemed to wonder if she had the flu or something.

“I think I got the flu or something,” she said Thursday night.

It was unclear if Jabeur, who plays her third-round match against No. 31 seed Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic on Saturday, had been tested for coronavirus to rule out the possibility of infection.

“I’m a zombie because I have the flu,” she says.

nytimes sport

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