Tennis phenom Coco Gauff announced Sunday that she is withdrawing from competition at the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.
Gauff, 17, broke the news in a brief statement posted on Twitter–where she also wished the rest of Team USA and her fellow Olympians luck and safety.
From Gauff’s Twitter:
“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.”
This would have been the teen tennis star’s first Olympics appearance, and she was expected to lead Team USA’s tennis squad after the Williams sisters and other big name players opted to skip the Tokyo Games, which start Friday.
The United States Tennis Association released a statement after Gauff’s announcement, saying in part that the organization is “heartbroken for Coco.”
The statement continued:
We wish her the best as she deals with this unfortunate situation and hope to see her back on the courts very soon. We know Coco will join all of us in rooting on the other Team USA members who will be traveling to Japan and competing in the coming days.
Gauff’s announcement comes after two South African soccer players tested and a video analyst for the team tested positive for the virus. Six athletes and two staff members representing Great Britain are also self-isolating after coming in close contact with a member of the public who had the virus on their flight.
Tokyo itself remains under a state of emergency due to the virus, with CNN reporting that the number of positive cases has risen again after falling off in June. Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, addressed the concerns and insured that preventative measures are being taken.
“We are well aware of the skepticism a number of people have here in Japan,” he said at a news conference on Saturday. “My appeal to the Japanese people is to welcome the athletes for their competitions.”
In Gauff’s case, it’s disappointing that this virus ended a wildly talented player’s Olympic dreams early this year–but she’ll be back. Let’s hope for a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing her fulfill that dream in Paris in 2024.