Kiwi tennis player Marcus Daniell faces a difficult choice, with his girlfriend in isolation in the United States with some Covid-19 symptoms.

The world No 49-ranked doubles player already has to deal with the current shutdown of the ATP tour, which was recently extended to June 7 and has severe implications for all professional players.

But it's his personal dilemma that is currently front of mind, with his partner Caroline in self-isolation in a Connecticut cabin, after her New York-based law firm shut down when a staff member contracted the coronavirus.

"She has tried to get a test for the last few days and has just been told 'no, no, no'," Daniell told the Herald. "And that's with symptoms and having been in close contact with confirmed cases as her law firm got hit by it.


"It's because she is not part of the 'at-risk population' (she is 30 years old), which is fair enough, but she doesn't feel there is enough information about when it's okay to be around people who are at risk.

"She's had two of the symptoms, sore throat and a dry cough. She hasn't had the fever but it's enough to say, 'shit, is this it?'"

Daniell's partner had been self-isolating in New York, but moved into a cabin outside the city two days ago.

"She's going to finish [the period] out in that cabin," said Daniell. "If she feels safe, she's going to move in with her parents but she is sort of freaking out about the potential risks and how long does it stay incubating in you. These are not easy decisions."

Marcus Daniell. Photo / Photosport
Marcus Daniell. Photo / Photosport

Daniell is also concerned about the general response in the United States to the outbreak.

"She was in New York until a couple of days ago and there were far too many people who were not taking it seriously and still hanging out in bars and stuff," said Daniell.

"In a population like that, when everyone is so close together I think there is going to be a huge amount of unofficial cases."

Now the couple face a tough decision.


"Either I go over there to her, self isolate for two weeks and then move in with her parents and basically camp out there for at least a few months," said Daniell. "Or she comes here, and we self-isolate on the West Coast for a few weeks."

Both scenarios are far from perfect.

"She is worried about leaving her parents who are a bit older," said Daniell. "And she has to think about, can she retain her job if she comes over here?

"For me, I've got to think about … can I do anything for tennis if I am there? Which I don't think I could, I think everything would be shut down.

"I don't really know what to do. It's this sort of thing that you want to be with your partner for but it feels like one of us is going to have to make a shitty decision."

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The pair met during the 2017 US Open, through a mutual friend, and have been together for around two years.

The travel demands of the ATP tour make it difficult, but Daniell has been based in New York since last July.

In terms of tennis, the 30-year-old Daniell remains philosophical, seeing the enforced break as a "training block" and a chance to address some injury niggles that have hounded him for years.

But things could change — quickly.

"If New Zealand becomes stringent with lockdown and says don't gather together, do we keep training, or not," said Daniell. "You could argue that tennis is distant, but we are still all touching the balls and you are not thinking about not touching your face when you are on a tennis court, so the risk of transmission could be pretty high."

But Daniell also retains a realistic outlook about his current plight.

"There seems to be a lot of interest in tennis players, what are we doing now and not making any money," said Daniell. "But the reality is we are still very privileged compared to hundreds of millions of people around the world and we need to keep some perspective."