(Reuters) - Spain’s Fernando Verdasco questioned the French Open’s COVID-19 testing protocols on Friday after having to withdraw from the tournament due to a positive result, which he deemed was false.
Verdasco, 36, pulled out of the final Grand Slam of the year in Paris on Thursday, alongside Canada’s Milos Raonic and Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic.
The Spaniard said he had returned a negative result on several occasions before he arrived in Paris, including at this month’s Italian Open in Rome, where he lost in the qualifiers.
The world number 58 criticised the French Open’s testing procedures after he was denied a re-test.
"In August, I passed the COVID-19 asymptomatically," he said in a statement on Twitter here. "Since then I have done multiple PCR tests, with negative results... I tested negative again a few days ago in the test I took before going to Hamburg...
“My team and family travelled to Paris on Tuesday... they all tested negative except me. I explained my history and situation to try to request another test...
“The Roland Garros organisation refused to do another test, even taking into account all these circumstances, and that there were enough days to repeat the tests before the competition and the draw ceremony. Still, I was disqualified.”
Verdasco said he had undergone two Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests and an antibody test since his withdrawal from the French Open and returned a negative result in all three tests.
“I want to communicate my total frustration and outrage with the organisation of Roland Garros for taking away my right to participate even without giving me the opportunity to take another test with a new sample to confirm that the result of the first could be an error,” he said.
On Wednesday, Bosnian Damir Dzumhur said he was taking legal action against the French Open organisers after he was barred from entering the qualification round after his coach Petar Popovic tested positive for the virus.
The French Open, moved from its usual late May-June slot due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, begins on Sunday.
Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Chennai; Editing by Ken Ferris
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