Wimbledon officials have been forced to review the tournament’s health and safety protocols after two players were forced to withdraw within 24 hours of each other. There are fears of a Covid-19 outbreak at SW19 after both Marin Cilic and Matteo Berrettini tested positive for the infection.

The Italian confirmed his withdrawal via a statement on Instagram just hours before he was set to play his first round match. He explained that he underwent testing after experiencing flu-like symptoms. “I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from @wimbledon due to a positive Covid-19 test result. I have had flu symptoms and been isolating the last few days. Despite symptoms not being severe, I decided it was important to take another test this morning to protect the health and safety of my fellow competitors and everyone else involved in the tournament. I have no words to describe the extreme disappointed I feel. The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger.”

Seeded number 8, Berrettini was one of the favourites coming into the event after having been at the final in 2021. He underwent surgery on his finger earlier this year, but has since come back strong to take victories at Stuttgart and the Queen’s Club. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to compete at Wimbledon for a shot at his first major title.

Meanwhile, Berrettini’s positive test came at the heels of another positive test from Cilic, who was also expected to finish strong at this year’s event. He was a semi-finalist at the French Open this year and is also a former finalist at Wimbledon.

Incidentally, the two positive tests results may affect the top two seeds. Cilic had earlier trained with defending champion Novak Djokovic, while Berrettini trained with second-seed Rafael Nadal. It is unclear if the two favourites will be tested.

Safety measures have been significantly more lax this year, as the All England Club eased restrictions in compliance with current government guidance. These protocols are now under review.

Following the news, French player Alizé Cornet made shocking claims that there was an outbreak at Roland Garros, but players opted to stay mum about it. “At Roland Garros there was an epidemic of Covid-19 and nobody talked about it. In the locker room, everyone had it and we said nothing,” she said, as quoted by The Guardian.

Italy’s Matteo Berrettini has pulled out of Wimbledon after testing positive for coronavirus AFP / Glyn KIRK