INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Intestinal fortitude has become a prized commodity at Indian Wells where at least six players have succumbed to a widespread viral infection over the past three days, organizers said.
Frenchman Gael Monfils, the 14th seed in the ATP tournament, and American Vania King both pulled out of the singles draw on Sunday because of stomach problems.
Monfils, who had been scheduled to play his first match against Russian Nikolay Davydenko in the second round, was replaced by lucky loser Bjorn Phau of Germany.
King, who won her first WTA title in Paris last month, had already played two matches in the California desert and her pullout handed 18th-seeded German Angelique Kerber a place in the fourth round of the WTA tournament.
King, who had never reached the fourth round at Indian Wells, tweeted on Sunday: “Just spent one of the worst nights of my life (gruesome details) fever, vomiting, diarrhea..all at the same time..caught a bug from someone.”
Earlier this week, Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber, Italian Andreas Seppi, Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova and American Bethanie Mattek-Sands had all suffered from stomach bugs.
Kohlschreiber withdrew before his second match of the week, Seppi and Rybarikova retired during their second-round encounters while Mattek-Sands, who lost her first-round match in the singles, is still competing in the women’s doubles.
In a statement issued on Sunday, health officials in the Palm Springs area said the virus had spread across the Coachella Valley, resulting in symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fever and diarrhoea.
“It (the virus) is self-limited and lasts between 24 and 48 hours,” the Eisenhower Medical Center said. “It is transmitted by air and direct contact and not passed via food.
“... we have seen increases in overall visits to the emergency department by about 15 percent over the past week. We have seen fans and players at the tournament experience these symptoms as well.”
Editing by Julian Linden