UK Police Investigating Poisoning Allegations of 18-Year-Old Wimbledon Player

Gabriella Taylor at Wimbledon in London, July 2016. British police are investigating allegations that Taylor, a player at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, was poisoned. John Walton/PA/AP Photo

Police in Merton, a borough in London, are investigating the alleged poisoning of an 18-year-old British tennis player who fell ill during Wimbledon’s junior tournament.

The player, identified as Gabrielle Taylor by The Associated Press, pulled out of her quarterfinal match against an American opponent when she became ill. She received hospital care and is still recovering, the Merton Metropolitan Police Service told ABC News.

Police became aware of the allegation last week and are treating it as a case of poisoning with intent to endanger life or cause grievous bodily harm, they said, adding that it likely took place between July 1 and 10. It is not known where or when the poison was ingested.

Taylor fell ill with leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread through rat urine, according to the AP.

The following day she wrote on Twitter that she was forced “to retire” and felt she could have gotten “far” in the tournament if she was healthy.

On July 11, Taylor tweeted that she had been receiving intensive care and was suffering from an “unknown cause.”

This week the tennis player tweeted that she was “so happy” to be back on the court.

Leptospirosis is fairly uncommon in the U.K., with 71 confirmed cases in England and Wales in 2015, the AP reported, citing Public Health England. The infection can be acquired by touching soil or water contaminated with the urine of infected animals, including cattle, pigs, dogs and rats.

The infection usually causes mild flu-like symptoms but can also lead to organ failure and internal bleeding in some cases.

No arrests have been made, and police are awaiting medical information about what, if any, poison was involved, the AP reported.

ABC News’ Louise Dewast contributed to this report.

Categories: National Sports