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COVID-hit Bencic backs Aussie Open tilt

Olympic tennis champion Belinda Bencic has tested positive for COVID-19 but is still backing herself to play next month’s Australian Open.

A day after Rafael Nadal announced he had also tested positive, Switzerland’s Bencic complained of “severe symptoms” after a trip to Abu Dhabi.

Both Bencic and Nadal had travelled to the UAE capital to play in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition event last week.

Nadal said he was having some “unpleasant moments” after testing positive upon his return to Spain.

“Unfortunately and even though I am fully vaccinated, I recently tested positive for COVID-19,” Bencic said on Twitter.

However, Bencic was quietly confident of contesting the new year’s opening slam which starts in Melbourne on January 17.

“I am currently isolating and taking all precautionary (measures) to get through this as best as possible as I am experiencing quite severe symptoms (fever, aches, chills),” Bencic posted.

“While the timing is not ideal – as I was in the final stages of my preparations for the Australian Open swing – I will make my way to Australia as soon as I am cleared and past the isolation period.”

Bencic had lost at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship to Tunisian Ons Jabeur, who replaced US Open champion Emma Raducanu after the latter tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrew.

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