What will tennis look like in 2021? In a world subject for many months to the dictates of the Covid-19, the question remains unclear. While Andrea Gaudenzi, president of the ATP, wants to vote for reforms … of the 2022 calendar at the next meeting of the board of directors behind closed doors at the London Masters (from November 15 to 22), no one knows precisely what will happen in the coming weeks.
“We hear a lot of hallway noise,” sums up the Canadian Milos Raonic. I have planned three scenarios depending on what it will be possible to do. We’ll see, but the situation is getting worse everywhere… ”Even though they are all aware of how lucky they are to practice their profession, players see their nerves strained between the fear of contracting the virus and the constraints necessary not to catch it.
“We must remain positive but we have no guarantee over the next few months”, breathes Stan Wawrinka who, like the others, plans his usual land preparation without knowing the terms of departure for the Australian Open (from 18 to 31 January 2021). Melbourne has just emerged from 110 days of confinement and local authorities have no intention of compromising on health rules.
A problem of equity
“The players could come in mid-December and undergo two weeks of quarantine,” explains Craig Tiley, boss of Tennis Australia. They would thus have four weeks to play tennis in Melbourne (Editor’s note: where the ATP Cup would also be contested). The deadline for deciding has been set for November 14. The organizers of Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra, which lead to the local Grand Slam, hope to be able to maintain their competitions by adopting the principle of the stadium-hotel “bubble”. “I’m sure almost all the players will be there,” predicts Richard Gasquet. If you don’t play, it’s over, you slowly decline… ”
For Gilles Simon, the problem of fairness is likely to worsen… “Things are simple: if the tournaments can take place in good conditions and that it works, we play. Otherwise, we don’t play! loose the world n ° 59. There, in fact, the top 30 has never been so favored in the history of tennis as since the recovery. They were able to earn money and ATP points. For the others, as there are fewer events, it becomes more and more difficult to enter the tables or the qualifications. We play but is it so good? Do you absolutely have to play? That was the basic question. The answer was yes. But I am not very comfortable with the situation. “
Gasquet does not share the vision of his compatriot. “We must play, launches the Biterrois. After that, it is sure that it is not the same calendar any more and that it is necessary to mix with tournaments a little less important to try to go up. “
“No return to normal for a while …”
To be able to organize the Rolex Paris Masters, the FFT has been able to count on the financial support of the ATP and other events in the category. With a drastic drop in the endowment (around 35%). “Obviously it’s worrying, blows Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 85th in the world and co-shareholder of the WTA tournament in Strasbourg. I especially have a thought for the girls who cannot afford to come to work (Editor’s note: 2 competitions on the women’s circuit after Roland-Garros against 9 ATP 250, 500 or Masters 1000 for the boys). It was terrible for the WTA not to be able to have an end-of-year Masters in China. “
Director of Open 13, scheduled for February 15 to 21, 2021, Jean-François Caujolle is working on four hypotheses. “If I understood the scientists’ words correctly, we should be in the window of remission between the second and the third wave. Unless it is forbidden to travel during this period, we will play, even behind closed doors or at a reduced level. On the other hand, I do not see how there would be a South American tour, especially since the ATP 500 in Rio, which is the mainstay, does not want to organize its tournament in February. Two or three tests will undoubtedly be mounted to compensate. But we know that there will be no return to normal for a while… ”
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr