Coco Gauff returned to the court on Thursday for an exhibition match at the Citi Open, which marked her first event since she had to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19.
Gauff, 17, said that her bout with the coronavirus was actually rather mild — though she did lose her sense of smell.
“I’m just happy that I didn’t have really many symptoms,” she said, via The Associated Press. “I was pretty much asymptomatic. I just had, still have, a loss of smell. But other than that, I’m A-OK.”
Gauff beat former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka at the Citi Open in an exhibition match on Thursday. The Citi Open did not get to host a women’s tournament this year.
Gauff announced on Twitter last month that she had tested positive, which knocked her out of the games. She was due to be the youngest Olympic tennis player since 2000, and arguably the biggest name among the Americans that were going to compete in Japan.
Gauff is currently ranked No. 25 in the world, and reached the quarterfinals at the French Open and the round of 16 at Wimbledon this season before she contracted the coronavirus.
Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic won the gold medal in Tokyo after she beat the Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova in the final match. All three Americans — Jennifer Brady, Jessica Pegula and Alison Riske — lost in their opening round matches.
Gauff struggling to, but will get vaccinated
Gauff said that she has yet to receive her coronavirus vaccine, and that constantly traveling from country to country while competing has made that process extremely difficult.
She is also just 17 years old, and wasn’t eligible to get the vaccine as early as others were. Her dad actually received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in April.
“I wanted to take it [with him], but I was under 18 and wasn’t qualified,” she said, via The Washington Post.
For now, though, Gauff said she plans to get her second dose of the vaccine after the U.S. Open — which is set to start on Aug. 30 in New York.
“The real problem is just getting the dosages spaced out and, obviously, going from country to country is difficult,” she said, via The Associated Press. “But I’m going to get it as soon as I can.”
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