U.S. tennis star Coco Gauff‘s dreams have been dashed with news that the 17-year-old has to withdraw from the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.
In an emotional post shared to her Twitter account on Sunday, July 18, the junior Grand Slam champion wrote, “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.”
She continued, “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.”
It’s unclear if the teenager was vaccinated. However, as of June 7, when her interview with the New York Times was published, Gauff’s father, Cori, revealed that he and his wife, Candi Gauff, had received their shots, but their daughter had not. Knowledge of that information garnered Gauff criticism from people online who were disappointed to hear that she had not received her shot with the tournament just days away. With vaccination. you may still run the risk of a COVID-19 diagnosis, however, chances of being hospitalized or dying from the illness are, lessened.
The United States Tennis Association addressed Gauff’s statement and explained the organization currently was trying to figure out whether she can be replaced in time. “We were saddened to learn that Coco Gauff has tested positive for COVID-19 and will therefore be unable to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” USTA’s statement read. “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.”
Gauff is the latest athlete to test positive for COVID-19 ahead of the games. Defender Thabiso Monyane and midfielder Kamohelo Mahlatsi from South Africa’s soccer team also tested positive for coronavirus. In addition, a video analyst for the team also tested positive inside the Olympic Village. According to People, the South African Olympic committee confirmed that all three are currently isolated at the Tokyo 2020 isolation facility.
With the Olympics set to start on Friday, July 23, concerns are rising over the growing number of athletes returning with a positive test. The International Olympic Committee does not require athletes to be vaccinated to participate in the games. Neither does Team USA.
CNN reported that the Olympics games would not have spectators this year, but the Olympic Village is prepared with testing kits, and athletes will be contact-traced and tested daily. If they test positive, they will be taken to an isolation facility outside the Olympic Village and will not compete.