The last weeks of Tomás Etcheverry have little to do with that of a tennis player who is in the 144th place in the ATP ranking and who aspires to regularly play ATP tournaments and Grand Slam main draws. Rather, it looks like a drama novel or thriller.
The platense, a fixture in Challenger category tournaments, literally disappeared from the map at any moment (It was September 11) and he told his story to the newspaper The day from La Plata.
“After playing in Banja Luka (Bosnia) I had to go to Poland and cross through Germany. Until then, everything was normal until, at the airport, when they asked for my passport, They took me out of the passenger line and I was alone. I did not understand what was happening “, the story began.
“The immigration officers were there but at one point I saw that military police personnel approached. I did not understand anything because of the language and everything that was happening. I was very scared. Between English and German they explained to me that I had exceeded the limit of stay, which was 90 days in countries that belong to the European Community. They told me they had to deport me and I panicked, “he continued.
The explanation was at hand: “I accidentally made a mistake: I exceeded the uninterrupted time limit that can be spent in the European Economic Community for 23 days, that due to the pandemic was reduced to only three months. My fault was that I thought that having gone to play the US Open interrupted the count but it didn’t. The days kept running. “
“As soon as they released me, I took the first plane and came to Argentina. With the pandemic it is not easy but I found one from Istanbul with a stopover in Rio. In Turkey I was eleven hours waiting for the flight. Time did not pass anymore: I slept on the floor and I was still scared, “he said.
Landed in Ezeiza, the native of La Plata underwent the usual COVID-19 test and his result came back positive. The nightmare continued. “I had not seen my family for seven months. I was surprised when he tested positive. In Europe and the United States I had countless swabs for COVID and they were all negative. I was asymptomatic but, as the protocol indicates, they took me to a hotel in Buenos Aires in a special taxi. “
After the corresponding isolation of ten days Etcheverry seems to regain some of his not-so-old life. He trains at the Racket Club under Carlos Berlocq and the Challenger of Buenos Aires appears on the horizon as the next target. Inside a field safe and sound. As in the old normality.