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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke January 21, 2022

No, tennis players haven’t dropped out of the Australian Open due to chest pains

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  • Inaccurate claims about tennis players quitting the Australian Open are based on years-old video footage and misinformation. 

The Australian Open is underway but some social media users are suggesting that the tennis competition has been marred by COVID-19 vaccine side effects.

"Fourth player drops out of Australian Open with ‘chest pains,’" one Jan. 19 Facebook post said. 

It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Tennis Australia, which organizes the Australian Open, didn’t respond to PolitiFact’s questions about the claim. 

The post doesn’t specify which four players dropped out of the Australian Open with chest pains, but it shows a picture of Slovenian player Dalila Jakupovic hunched over on her knees next to a fallen tennis racket. 

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However, that image is from 2020, when she retired from her match after "she dropped to her knees with a coughing spell amid poor air quality," Sky News then reported. Wildfires were polluting the air in Australia at the time and the air quality was bad enough that residents were advised to stay indoors.

Although some social media posts are sharing the footage of her collapsing as if it's current, Jakupovic isn’t even on the roster of players competing in this year’s Australian Open. On Jan. 12, she posted a photo from Dubai. 

Searching online, we found mentions of two other players allegedly quitting the Australian Open due to chest pains: Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia and Nick Kyrgios of Australia. 

On Jan. 5 — before the Australian Open — Basilashvili retired from a match in the ATP Cup in Sydney due to breathing difficulties. 

He and a doctor "had a conversation before another doctor joined as hand gestures suggested he was feeling tightness in his chest," the Sun reported. "He was overheard saying: ‘Every shot I’m out of breath.’" 

Basilashvili competed in the Australian Open, losing to Andy Murray on Jan. 18 in a "five-set thriller," ESPN reported.  

Kyrgios, meanwhile, withdrew from an Australian Open preparation tournament due to "a mystery illness that sparked his asthma" before testing positive for COVID-19, ESPN said. His participation in the Australian Open seemed in jeopardy, but he recovered and played, winning one game against Liam Broady of the United Kingdom before losing to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev.
We don’t know who the supposed fourth player is that this post is referring to, but since allegations that three other players quit the tournament over chest pains is wrong, we’re rating this False.

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No, tennis players haven’t dropped out of the Australian Open due to chest pains

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