Funny place for meetings. Two players, a referee, seven linesmen, six collectors, a handful of cameramen and a few security guards at the foot of 16,000 empty seats whose darkness sadly sums up the autumnal state of mind … The 35th Rolex Paris Masters was open in a sinister atmosphere. With the only music for pleasure the gentle hum of the air conditioning above the center court. Under his mask, the imperturbable man-orchestra Marc Maury continues to declaim in a more perfect way the list of players entering the court while flashing light panels. A bit surreal.
About twenty journalists are admitted to the site, against around 130 in normal times. The press area is confined under the glass roof at the top of the steps of the main staircase, the exact opposite of the spaces reserved for competitors. In short, everything is done to minimize the risks.
Recognized as a contact case, Briton Joe Salisbury was forced to withdraw from the doubles table where he was seeded No. 1 with American Rajeev Ram.
“Stay strong, united, and hope for better days”
“People are only behind their screens, it turns a bit into reality TV, loose Corentin Moutet, who was able to disillusion the Italian Salvatore Caruso (3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3). When there is an audience, we try to perform because it’s a show. There, it’s intimate, there are less superficial things. It’s fun to try, there is some good to take… ”
Ugo Humbert, he knocked down Casper Ruud (4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (1)) in the middle of the ghosts. “It’s a little weird because the room is very large, blows the world No. 34, who will face the Greek Tsitsipas on Tuesday evening. It’s a little different but that’s how it is. On the court, you stay focused on what you have to do. We are already very happy to be able to play… ”And that is the essential point.
“It’s the best we can have for the moment,” slips the Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, both a player (he will face Nadal in the second round) and responsible for the Masters 1000 in Madrid. We need to be aware of the situation. Everyone is in the same boat. Of course, the endowment has suffered a significant reduction (Editor’s note: 225,000 euros to the winner, more than four times less than in 2019), but it will be the same for the beginning of the year 2021. The virus will still be there for a long time, until a vaccine is found. Tennis players have to come to terms with it and appreciate the enormous efforts that are being made by the organizers. For now, we must remain strong, united, and hope for better days… ”
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr