A rising British tennis star who was forced to withdraw from last month’s Wimbledon Championships after being struck down by a mystery illness may have been deliberately poisoned.
Scotland Yard is investigating allegations that Gabriella Taylor, 18, from Southampton, was targeted during the girl’s tournament.
The tennis player spent four days in intensive care after becoming unwell during her quarter-final match and her mother, Milena Taylor, told the London Daily Telegraph her daughter was “close to death”.
Scotland Yard said police in the London borough of Merton, which covers Wimbledon, were investigating an allegation of poisoning with the “intent to endanger life” or cause grievous bodily harm.
No arrests have been made.
“The allegation was received by officers on August 5 with the incident alleged to have taken place at an address in Wimbledon between July 1-10. The victim was taken ill on July 6. It is unknown where or when the poison was ingested,” a spokesman said.
“The victim, an 18-year-old woman, received hospital treatment and is still recovering.”
Miss Taylor contracted a strain of the bacteria leptospirosis, which is usually spread by animals and can in rare cases cause organ failure, her mother told the Daily Telegraph.
She said her daughter was staying “in a completely healthy environment” and it was “impossible” for her to have become ill.
“The bacteria the infection team found is so rare in Britain that we feel this could not have been an accident,” she told the paper.
“Her bags with her drinks in were often left unattended in the players’ lounge and someone could have taken the opportunity to contaminate her drink.”