(Photo: Badminton Photo)
Excitement one day, disappointment the next
Date: 3/23/2021 1:00 PM
Published by : Alan Raftery
Following the excitement of the All England Open 2021 last week, the plan was to jump straight back into the Race to Tokyo, however, for a number of players the harsh reality of COVID-19 protocols has struck again. 

Beginning today with the qualification rounds, the Palais des Sports is the location for the Orléans Masters 2021. Points earned this week count towards the players’ Race to Tokyo Rankings, which will eventually decide qualification and seedings for the upcoming Summer Games in July. 

Despite all the best intentions, several players learnt that they cannot participate due to contact racing with a positive test result. The countries affected and having to withdraw players are France, Germany and the Netherlands. 

Young Dutch star, Imke Van Der Aar, posted her excitement to be getting back on court on her social media, but her latest post shows how fast things can change. 

-How happy I was yesterday, how disappointed I am today. Unfortunately, someone in our training group tested positive this week. And rules are rules.

Van Der Aar and many of the Dutch players now have to go into quarantine. 

-It’s a tough one to take because this week was a good chance to build that ranking up after a very long injury break in 2019 and almost no tournaments in 2020.

Van Der Aar is not sure when she will play her next tournament but vies to bring back ‘that killer mindset’.

Ruben Jille had a scare back at the 2021 European Mixed Team Championships with a false-positive result. His, and the Dutch team’s participation hung in the balance, before being allowed out from his hotel quarantine and cleared to play in Finland. 

This week, he knows first-hand how hard these moments are, and attempts to keep spirits high with this message. 

-Very unfortunate, but these things happen nowadays... Keeping my head up and hopefully picking up my racket soon again to prepare for the European Championships!

Robin Tabeling echoes these words. 

-Disappointed right now and crazy to see how different rules are between countries and tournaments, but nothing more we can do about it. We will bounce back at the European Championships.

Unlucky circumstances for Germany
The 2017 mixed doubles champion, Isabel Herttrich, along with her partner Mark Lamsfuss, is currently sitting on the edge of Olympic qualification. With a number of pairs breathing down their necks, every tournament counts.
This week is not to be, with Herttrich posting on her Instagram.

-No Orleans Masters for us. No chasing points for the Race to Tokyo. 

-Due to very unlucky circumstances - positive case in the training group on Friday, there no chance for a retest in time, so we are forced to withdraw from Orléans Masters, Herttrich explains. 

Reigning champions unable to defend title
The Swiss Open champions, Thom Gicquel/ Delphine Delrue, were hoping to continue their great run of form and try for the double at their home tournament that they won last year. However, a significant number of the French cohort are also forced to withdraw. Delrue posted a message to her ever-growing fanbase. 

-No Orléans Masters this year because of a positive COVID-19 test in our group. Disappointed that we cannot defend our title in this home tournament. 

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