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'What are you doing like?' | Zverev press conference highlights Covid issues in sport

Instances of irresponsible behaviour worldwide in sport during the pandemic have been regular, wi...

'What are you doing like?' | Z...
Other Sports

'What are you doing like?' | Zverev press conference highlights Covid issues in sport

Instances of irresponsible behaviour worldwide in sport during the pandemic have been regular, with tennis star Alexander Zverev one of the latest to be criticised.

The 23-year-old German was playing in the French Open at Roland Garros, and after losing to young Italian Jannik Sinner, admitted in a press conference that he had actually been playing with flu-like symptoms.

He ultimately tested negative for the coronavirus, but a lack of openness was not a good look for a sport which saw Novak Djokovic host an ill-judged tournament back in June.

It follows news this week that the GAA were suspending club games after videos of packed stands and celebrations with no social distancing, while in rugby cross-channel Sale Sharks have been plagued by positive cases.

Our own Colm Boohig spoke on OTB AM this morning about Zverev's behaviour, and the reaction in the tennis community and beyond.

"'What are you doing like?' That's what I was thinking when I was watching this at the weekend. Zverev lost to Jannik Sinner, the 19-year-old from Italy in four sets.

"Zverev shows up at the post-match press conference, but it's all on Zoom so he's the only person in the room, and he wore a mask - which you don't have to do because there's nobody else in the room. So it was very unusual.

"Then he proceeded to just nonchalantly say 'I'm completely sick, as you can hear I can't really breath that well. To be completely honest I shouldn't have played, I had a fever the other night.'

"It turned out he had a temperature of 38 degrees, but his last coronavirus test was five days before that. Every test he took the results came back negative, but he didn't tell anybody about this heading into the Sinner match.

"He said he wasn't feeling great but hoped to have beaten Sinner in straight sets and got away with it basically, it's incredible.

"But unlike the US Open where players' temperatures were checked every day, it's every few days at the French Open, they're not as stringent.

"But it's still on Zverev's personal responsibility or his team's responsibility to say 'I don't feel great.' There's a selfish aspect to it and tennis is a selfish game. It's a selfish sport, it's every person for themselves, and Zverev thought 'I can't withdraw, I need to redeem myself at this French Open.'

"Obviously the whole tennis world and beyond castigated him for how casual and nonchalant he said this in the press conference. He subsequently got a coronavirus test and the results came back negative, which he posted on his Instagram page to his 1.1 million followers on his stories.

"Imagine if he had tested positive? Jannik Sinner wouldn't have been able to play against Rafa Nadal and who knows what would have happened to the tournament?"

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks have had to forfeit their final game in the regular Premiership season after eight more positive Covid-19 cases, bringing the number of infections at the club to 27 in the past seven days.

The club released a statement to say that the high number of cases had nothing to do with players acting irresponsibly.

"Reports over the weekend suggesting our players acted irresponsibly by partying and socialising throughout Manchester after our Premiership Rugby Cup victory are completely inaccurate and untrue.

"Health and Safety has always been our top priority throughout the return of professional rugby in England and we have an important role to play in supporting the Premiership Rugby players that have tested positive for this terrible virus."

Club games in the GAA are off for the foreseeable future as the country comes to terms with a move to Level 3, with the inter-county season set to get underway the weekend after next.

Fermanagh GAA have today halted all training in the county after a "number" of their senior football panel returned positive tests.

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Alexander Zverev Colm Boohig Coronavirus Covid-19 Fermanagh GAA French Open GAA Sale Sharks Tennis Zverev