Tennis and coronavirus: almost 6 months without circuit

Tennis and coronavirus: almost 6 months without circuit

Almost six months ago, the news shocked the tennis world: “Indian Wells, suspended for a case of coronavirus in Coachella Valley.” It was the first major event to be canceled, and it even generated debates about whether the decision had been hasty or a measured act of prevention.

In just over a week, COVID-19 became a pandemic, millions of people were quarantined, and sport across almost the entire planet was postponed until further notice.

In this context, tennis stopped in an unprecedented limbo: canceled tournaments and rankings and a rearming of the calendar (in the Olympic year, to top it off) that included the move to Roland Garros, Rome and Madrid for September.

After the suspension of Indian Wells, the ATP took a few days to assess the situation, together with the Players Council, medical experts, and travel advisers, since in parallel flight restrictions were strengthened that today have led to borders closed in several countries.

Finally, on Thursday March 12, just 96 hours after the announcement of Indian Wells, ATP announced that the circuit would be stopped for six weeks, “with immediate effect”: that is, the tournaments that were underway (Challengers in South Africa and Kazakhstan ) were put on hold, with no winner or resolution.

There was even an episode that seemed fictional: in Potchefstroom, South Africa, Jack Draper beat Tobias Simon 5-4 in the third set, when rain forced a first delay. Already in changing rooms, the entry into force of the ATP regulations definitively canceled the action. After more than two hours of play, one game from the end, everything came to nothing, as if the game had never existed.

The process at the WTA was more chaotic. There was not in the first place a general resolution, but each tournament was communicating its decision. Indian Wells was followed by Miami, then Charleston. Also the Fed Cup (which organizes ITF) had closed its doors. After the failed communication, and after the claim of several players on social networks, the suspension of Bogotá was also announced, the only stopover in South America.

As it is, the action returns in a big way because there have already been matches. The WTAs of Palermo and Prague have their champions crowned and the Challengers had active participation from Argentines (Ficovich, Mena, Bagnis, Trungelliti, etc) and even from a Grand Slam winner: Wawrinka in the Czech Republic.

The Cincinnati Masters 1000, in New York, is the date and no one will remember that Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild was the last ATP champion in Santiago. He beat Casper Ruud 7-5, 4-6 and 6-3 in the final and inadvertently became the last tennis player for a long time with a smile from ear to ear.

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