LONDON: Police in London are investigating allegations that a young tennis player was poisoned while competing at this year’s Wimbledon, a British newspaper reported on Thursday.
Gabriella Taylor, 18, withdrew from the Girls’ Singles competition in July and spent four days in intensive care.
Police are now investigating whether she was deliberately poisoned, The Telegraph newspaper said.
Taylor was reportedly diagnosed with Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection spread by animals.
The rare infection typically comes with flu-like symptoms, although in severe cases it can lead to internal bleeding and organ failure.
The player’s mother, Milena Taylor, said in the run-up to the tennis tournament her daughter had been physically well.
“She was full of confidence and was looking forward to getting the title; that was her dream. Everything was going well,” she told The Telegraph.
“She got to the quarter-final, but then the next thing she is lying in intensive care close to death. When the infection team explained what it was we could not believe it.”
Police told AFP they were investigating an allegation of poisoning with intent to endanger life or cause grievous bodily harm, describing the victim only as an 18-year-old woman.
“The victim was taken ill on 6 July. It is unknown where or when the poison was ingested,” a police spokesman said in a statement, adding that no arrests had been made.
A Wimbledon spokesman told AFP that as it was a police matter, “it would not be appropriate for us to comment”.
A spokesman for the championships previously told The Telegraph that Wimbledon had not been approached by police about the probe.
The club had no record of Taylor using her catering pass to eat on site during the championships, the spokesman told the newspaper.
Taylor’s mother said her daughter’s drinks were often left unattended in the players’ lounge, speculating that someone could have contaminated her drink.
A spokesman from Southampton General Hospital confirmed that Taylor had been discharged last month.
Taylor has since returned to training.
“So happy to be back on court!! Taking it step by step!” she tweeted on Wednesday.
Taylor is currently ranked 381 in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association.