Police probe ‘poisoning’ of Wimbledon tennis teen

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 10:55am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 August, 2016, 10:55am

Police in London are investigating allegations that a young tennis player was poisoned while competing at this year’s Wimbledon competition, a British newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Gabriella Taylor, 18, withdrew from the competition in July and spent four days in intensive care.

Police are now investigating whether the tennis player was deliberately poisoned.

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 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,” she said.

Police said 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, adding that no arrests had been made.

Wimbledon tennis club was unavailable to discuss the case on Wednesday. A spokesman for the sports ground 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 said.

Taylor’s mother said her daughter’s drinks were often left unattended in the players’ lounge, speculating that someone could have contaminated her drink.

Since her unexpected ill health Taylor has 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.