Tomás Etcheverry is one of the young promises of Argentine tennis. At the age of 22, he is ranked 144th in the world rankings made by the ATP and this year he won the tournament in Perugia (in the final he won against the Ukrainian Vitaly Sachko) and Trieste (he defeated his compatriot Thiago Tirante) and was a finalist in Cordenons (He fell to the albiceleste Francisco Cerundolo).
However, during his tour of Europe he exceeded the allowed limit and lived a real nightmare. He was in a jail in Germany for more than 24 hours, was deported and when he returned to the country he tested positive for coronavirus.
After falling on September 11 to his compatriot Juan Manuel Cerundolo in the semifinals of the Challenger in Banja Luka, Bosnia, the native of La Plata chose to travel to Szczecin, Poland, to compete in another contest of the second category of the professional tennis.
“I had to cross through Germany. It was all normal until, at the airport, when they asked for my passport, they pulled me to one side of the passenger line. I was alone. I didn’t really know what was going on. I observed that they were talking to the immigration authorities until two members of the Military Police approached me. I honestly did not understand anything between the language and everything that was happening around me, I was very afraid“Etcheverry said in an interview with the newspaper El Día.
At that time, immigration authorities at the airport explained to the athlete trained by Carlos Berlocq that he had exceeded the limit of permanence in Europe. “They told me that it is 90 days in countries that belong to the European Economic Community and that they had to deport me. At that moment I panicked”He recalled.
Etcheverry was handcuffed and transferred to a police station located in the city of Köln, where he remained in a cell for just over 24 hours. While the ATP authorities were trying to solve the situation, the Argentine contacted his relatives to tell them what happened while he was stopping off in Germany.
“I accidentally made a mistake, since I exceeded the limit of being continuously in the territory of the European Economic Community for 23 days, which due to the pandemic was reduced to only three months, but my fault was that I believed that when I went to play the US Open that period of time was not counted, but it was not like that, it continued running in the count, “he explained.
The La Plata player had been playing tournaments in the Old Continent regularly. At the end of April he began his journey playing a tournament in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Then it went through Prague (Czech Republic), Heilbronn (Germany), Biella (Italy), the Roland Garros qualy (France), Lyon (France), Forli (Italy), the Wimbledon qualy (England), Perugia (Italy) , Todi (Italy), Trieste (Italy) and Cordenons (Italy). After falling against Frenchman Enzo Couacaud in the first qualifying round at the US Open, he returned to Europe to say present in Banja Luka.
“They treated me well, but I felt like a criminal. As soon as they told me I was free, I took the first plane to return to Argentina, “he added. However, his journey did not end there. Upon arriving in Ezeiza, after stopovers through Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro, the tennis player tested positive for Covid-19.
“It was another surprise. During my stay in Europe and the United States, they made me countless swabs, all negative. They transferred me in a special taxi to a hotel in Buenos Aires, where I was isolated only in one room for ten days ”, concluded Etcheverry, who will return to the ring next week at the Challenger in Buenos Aires.
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