Life inside the ‘bubble in the bubble’ tough for Kristina Mladenovic after Benoit Paire contact

US Open
Kristina Mladenovic feeling the heat

There was great joy and relief for Kristina Mladenovic after she overcame a tough build-up to the US Open to reach the second round.

As if living in a bio-secure bubble at Flushing Meadows was not already difficult, Mladenovic and six other players have been forced to live in a “bubble in the bubble” after Benoit Paire tested positive for the coronavirus.

Frenchman Paire was withdrawn from the US Open over the weekend while organisers have also decided to put seven players who were in contact with him in isolation.

Although the seven players were not identified, Mladenovic revealed after her 7-5, 6-2 first-round win over Hailey Baptiste from the United States that she is one of the players.

“I am basically in a new ‘bubble in the bubble,’ so there’s not very much I’m allowed to do, which makes it tough for me to compete and mentally be kind of fresh and ready,” she said.

Asked about what she is allowed to do, she replied: “Let’s make it simple: I’m allowed to play my match. Literally, not allowed to do anything else.”

Mladenovic came into contact with Paire as she practised with him and also p layed cards with him and others in the lobby of a hotel inside the “controlled environment”.

She added: “It’s pretty tough for me to accept that … because it’s not like I’m part of (Paire’s) entourage.”

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