Matteo Berrettini, the runner-up at Wimbledon last year, has been forced to withdraw from this year’s competition after testing positive for Covid-19.

The Eighth seed announced the news on his Instagram.

The 26-year-old Italian, who lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2021 final, becomes the second high-profile player to withdraw from this year’s grasscourt Grand Slam due to the coronavirus after Croatia’s Marin Cilic withdrew himself on Monday.

“I am heartbroken to announce that I need to withdraw from @wimbledon due to a positive COVID-19 test result,” Berrettini said on his social media account hours before his first-round match against Chile’s Cristian Garin.

“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 disappointment I feel,” the Italian added. “The dream is over for this year, but I will be back stronger.”

Matteo Berrettini was seen as the biggest threat to Djokovic’s reign at Wimbledon after the Italian claimed back-to-back titles in tuneup events on the grass at Stuttgart and Queen’s Club.

The organizers have announced Sweden’s Elias Ymer as the Italian’s replacement.

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