Davis Cup: Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz tests positive for Covid-19 on the first day

Carlos Alcaraz with the Next Gen Trophy
Carlos Alcaraz won the Next Gen ATP Finals tournament earlier this month
Venues: Madrid, Innsbruck, Turin Date: November 25-5. December
Coverage: Live text comments on GB tapes, reports on the BBC Sport website and app

Spain suffered another setback in their Davis Cup defense as Carlos Alcaraz withdrew after testing positive for coronavirus on the opening day of the event.

The 18-year-old, seen as one of the future stars of tennis, said he was “very well” but with “mild symptoms”.

Spain were already without the 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal and Roberto Bautista Agut.

Alcaraz will remain in isolation while the rest of the team awaits further test results, a tournament statement said.

Spain play their first match against Ecuador on Friday in Madrid.

Alcaraz reached the US Open quarterfinals in September and won the Next Gen ATP Finals title in the run-up to the Davis Cup Finals.

“I was very excited to represent my country, but sometimes things do not happen the way you want and you have to overcome it.” he wrote on Instagram.external link

“It’s a very tough stick, but you’ll have to stand up to this situation and come out strengthened.”

Nadal, who is missing the competition with a foot injury, said he sent “a hug to everyone”.

“When something like this happens, the competition takes a back seat,” the 35-year-old wrote on Twitter.

“The most important thing is health, and I hope there are no more cases.”

The Davis Cup final features 18 nations competing across three cities, with the semi-finals and final taking place in Madrid from 3 to 5 December.

France and Croatia among winners on the first day

Britain launched their campaign in Innsbruck on Saturday, but the other two members of Group C were in action on day one, with France coming from behind to strike Czech Republic 2-1.

They played behind closed doors after Austria went back into blockade due to rising coronavirus cases.

French veteran Richard Gasquet, who played his 21st Davis Cup match, lost 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 to debutant Tomas Machac in the opening rubber.

Adrian Mannarino, however, fought back to beat Jiri Vesely 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-2 and put up a crucial double rubber.

There was a fright for France when Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert, there won the ATP final Sunday lost the opening set but came back to beat Machac and Jiri Lehecka 3-6 6-4 6-3.

Meanwhile, second place in 2019 Canada lost 3-0 to Sweden and Croatia beat Australia at the same scoreline in Turin, with both bands attended by a small audience.

In Group B, Canada, which is without world number 11 Felix Auger-Aliassime and 14th, Denis Shapovalov lost, the first rubber, when Swedish Elias Ymer beat Steven Diez 6-4 6-2.

Ymer’s little brother Mikael then beat Vasek Pospisil 6-4 6-4, before Robert Lindstedt and Andre Göransson defeated Pospisil and Brayden Schnur 7-6 (7-5) 6-4.

Croatia took early responsibility for Group D when world number 276, Borna Gojo, beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (7-5) 7-5, despite the Australian being 215 places above him in the rankings.

Former world number three Marin Cilic then had to dig in to see Alex de Minaur 6-1 5-7 6-4 before Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic beat De Minaur and John Peers 6-3 6-1 in the doubles.

The teams play two round-robin matches, each with two singles and a double-rubber, all played over best-of-three sets.

The best teams from each group and the two best two qualify for the quarterfinals.

World number one Novak Djokovic will be in action on Friday when his Serbian team takes on Austria.

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