Fernando Verdasco has slammed French Open organisers after he was forced to withdraw having tested positive for COVID-19.
The clay court Grand Slam gets underway at Roland Garros on Sunday, and Verdasco's place in the men's singles draw has gone to a lucky loser from qualifying.
The Spaniard says he failed the French Open's PCR testing upon arrival in Paris, despite having already contracted coronavirus in August.
After isolating at the time, Verdasco says he took two PCR tests - both of which returned negative.
The former Australian Open semi-finalist claims to have taken multiple PCR tests since - including at the Masters tournament in Rome - all of which showed negative results. He also tested negative ahead of the tournament in Hamburg, but didn't play as he wanted to prepare for Roland Garros.
Ahead of the French Open, Verdasco says he was the only one of his family members tested to show a positive result. Despite explaining his case history and asking for another test, the organisers refused.
On Thursday he was tested at two separate locations, and both of those returned negative.
In an open letter on Twitter, Verdasco wrote, "I want to communicate my total frustration and outrage with the organization of Roland Garros, for taking away my right to participate in this important event without even giving me the opportunity to take another test with a new sample to confirm that the result of the first could be an error."
Fernando Verdasco statement:
This year I will not be able to participate in Roland Garros, much to my regret and feeling a total frustration.
In August I passed the covid-19 asymptomatically; I followed the isolation guidelines and returned to my routine after testing negative in two consecutive PCR tests. Since then, I have done multiple PCR tests, with negative results in all, including the one carried out at the Masters 1000 tournament in Rome. I tested negative again a few days ago in the test I took before going to Hamburg, although I did not play at the end as a professional decision to better prepare for Roland Garros.
My team and family traveled to Paris on Tuesday and we did the corresponding PCR test again. They all tested negative except me. I explained my history and situation to try to request another test, especially after having seen what happened in similar cases with other players. The Roland Garros organization 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.
Yesterday I proceeded to do two PCR tests and a serology test on my own account, in different testing centers for greater guarantee, and the results today showed that I am NEGATIVE for COVID-19 in all of them.
This could happen to any player or their team, and in my opinion we should at least be granted the chance to do new tests to avoid unfair direct disqualifications and to give security to the players. If there is enough time to get tested again, our request to have them made shouldn't be denied.
I want to communicate my total frustration and outrage with the organization of Roland Garros, for taking away my right to participate in this important event without even giving me the opportunity to take another test with a new sample to confirm that the result of the first could be an error.