Alexander Zverev reveals illness, says he was ‘completely sick’ during French Open match

German tennis player Alexander Zverev lost in four sets in the fourth round of the French Open to Italian Jannik Sinner on Sunday. However, his post-match comments reignited concerns over COVID-19 protocols and testing before matches, according to The New York Times.

"I’m completely sick,” Zverev said in a virtual press conference. "I can’t really breathe, as you can hear by my voice. I had fever as well. Yeah, I’m not in the best physical state, I would say. I think that had a little bit of an effect on the match today.”

The No. 6-seeded Zverev lost lost 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 3-6 to the teenage Sinner 

The French Tennis Federation said in a statement via The Times that Zverev was last tested for the coronavirus Tuesday, with a negative test result returned Wednesday. Zverev reportedly did not report his symptoms to French Open officials ahead of Sunday's match, as he was supposed to per the tournament's protocols. 

Oct 4, 2020; Paris, France; Alexander Zverev (GER) reacts during his match against Jannik Sinner (ITA) on day eight at Stade Roland Garros. (Photo: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

“To be honest, I warmed up today: I shouldn’t have played,” Zverev, who noted he started feeling sick Friday night, said. “I was hoping maybe for a three-set win or something like that, but I knew from the beginning that it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Zverev said he had a fever that reached 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. During the match, the German was seen coughing and consulted with tournament medical officials, who gave him a nasal spray and a pill for his throat, according to Reuters.

The future is bright 🇮🇹@janniksin is the first man to make the final 8 on his debut since Nadal, his next opponent, in 2005. He defeats Zverev 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3.#RolandGarrospic.twitter.com/FWqif1NIt8

Zverev's next test was to be given to him within five days of the result, per the French Tennis Federation's statement. 

In other men's fourth-round action, Rafael Nadal overwhelmed qualifier Sebastian Korda, the 20-year-old American whose father won the 1998 Australian Open, 6-1, 6-1, 6-2. And U.S. Open champion Dominic Thiem held off French wild-card entry Hugo Gaston 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, 6-3.

In the biggest upset of the day, Polish teenager Iga Swiatek ousted the 2018 women's champion, top-seed Simona Halep, 6-1, 6-2 to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Swiatek, the only teenager who reached the fourth round, avenged a crushing defeat by Halep at the same stage last year. The Romanian won that match 6-1, 6-0, in just 45 minutes.

Swiatek turned the tables this time. She never faced a break point and punished Halep with her crunching baseline shots and exquisite net play. Swiatek’s win on the Court Philippe Chatrier ended a career-best 17-match winning streak for Halep.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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