As the US OPEN 2020 nears, players are facing training and practice problems
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Many haven’t held a racquet in a couple of months and many have been confined to the 4 walls of their apartment. While others have been using the break to polish their techniques and improving their stamina quantitatively. Others are diametrically opposite: they are apprehensive about being back on the tour!
More and more questions are haunting players as they near the 2nd Grand Slam of the year (Wimbledon was cancelled). Tough calls, whether to participate or not, are to be made. Countries, globally have different economies, and with different viral loads, they are competing with the virus by doing what they think is the most appropriate for battling the situation.
Many players believe that they are nowhere near their match-perfect selves. As they have to miss practice for nearly 3 months now. Many regions of the world are still in a grim situation and can’t help but let people out only if extremely essential.
Through the revamping process, the ATP and WTA councils have been really supportive of players and their opinions. But players have their concerns. Ladies’ top player, Coco Vandeweghe voiced her opinion on the situation.
“There’s no way right now you could consider this a level playing field because it’s so different depending on where you are. Some states have more fluidity than others in what you’re able to do, [if you can] go outside, go for a walk, go for a run. Some countries and states you’re unable to do that unless you’re going to the grocery store or doing something that’s considered absolutely necessary. Instagram is a very easy way to see what people are doing, and with so many tennis people in Florida. I can see that they’re back in gyms and training on the courts at academies.”
“So, it’s kind of tough in terms of preparation if we do come back to play as far as where I’ll be versus some people that have had full access for a long period of time, and I’ve tried to reiterate that to the WTA.”
Many players are apprehensive about the Grand Slam event taking place and are extremely positive about it. Spanish Caroline Garcia, who trains at Rafa Nadal academy at Mallorca, Spain was quoted as saying, “Of course, I think we all want to play matches and competition, but it’s complicated. I don’t even know what to think about it. I think it’s normal to have some fear and apprehension about it. But you cannot fear everything because in that case that would mean we couldn’t do anything. Would we stay in our apartments for a year? Two years? We can’t do that, so I think it’s safe to have some fear and take precautions and do the best we can.”
Croatian Donna Vekic gave her personal opinion on the matter. +”To be honest, I’m not scared of the virus. I wouldn’t even mind playing in front of the full stadium, personally. So, I would be happy to go and play right now, to travel and everything. I’m not scared.”
Bethanie Mattek-Sands was very positive when questioned on the same. “I think it’s a great opportunity for tennis to go outside the box a little bit and test out some things.”
Let’s test out shorter scoring systems, let’s test out coaches staying on court and being miked and miking doubles. We need to find ways to make these tournaments successful without the fanfare and get the sponsors and fans excited.
Mike Dowse, USTA chief executive officer, and executive director is looking forward to the tournament and his positivity is infectious. “We recognize the tremendous responsibility of hosting one of the first global sporting events in these challenging times. We will do so in the safest manner possible, mitigating all potential risks. We now can give fans around the world the chance to watch tennis’ top athletes compete for a US Open title. We can showcase tennis as the ideal social distancing sport. Being able to hold these events in 2020 is a boost for the City of New York and the entire tennis landscape.”
Many players cannot train. Some believe playing without ranking points being awarded is a total waste of time. Some don’t want to play without being financially well rewarded. But many have forgotten that playing for playing’s sake is a lot fun too. The next few weeks are going to be very tough. Are you excited too?