Police investigate claims player was poisoned at Wimbledon

Gabriella Taylor is believed to be the player who was targeted

Wimbledon, general view, tennis,

Image: Anthony Devlin / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Police are investigating allegations a British tennis player was deliberately poisoned during this year's Wimbledon tournament.

Scotland Yard is investigating whether the 18-year-old - named in reports as Gabriella Taylor - was targeted in early July.

The teenager was forced to withdraw from the girl's junior tournament midway through her quarter-final match.

Police launched a criminal investigation amid fears that she had been deliberately poisoned in an attempt to wreck her tournament chances.

It was initially thought Taylor had contracted a virus while playing overseas, but after spending four days in intensive care, doctors diagnosed her with a rare strain of leptospirosis, a bacterial disease that can be transmitted through rat urine. Taylor is yet to fully recover.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Merton police are investigating an allegation of poisoning with intent to endanger life.

"The allegation was received by officers on 5 August with the incident alleged to have taken place at an address in Wimbledon between 1-10 July.

Image: John Walton / PA Wire/Press Association Images

"The victim was taken ill on 6 July. It is unknown where or when the poison was ingested.

"The victim, an 18 year-old woman, received hospital treatment and is still recovering." There have been no arrests.

In July, Taylor tweeted to let her fans know that she had been taken into intesnive care, and how she was progressing with her mystery illness, saying that she had been "suffering from an unknown cause."

Her mother, Milena Taylor, told The Daily Telegraph: "Before the tournament she was in very good shape physically. She was totally healthy and playing very well.

"She was full of confidence and was looking forward to getting the title; that was her dream. Everything was going well. She got to the quarter-final, but then next thing, she is lying in intensive care close to death. When the infection team explained what it was, we could not believe it."

Taylor has a world ranking of 419 on the senior tour after competing in seven senior events this year, and was the last British player left in the junior singles when she was forced to pull out.