The coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down in the last couple of months, causing many deaths and forcing people to stay away from their usual activities. The world of sport has suffered a lot as well, with the Olympic Games in Tokyo switching to the summer of 2021 and the cancelation of the EURO and every other notable event that was set for the upcoming months.
As a global sport of the highest order, tennis had to embrace the forced break as well, with all the tournaments sidelined at least until the second part of July and no Wimbledon for the first time since 1945! At the moment, it is hard to predict if we are going to see tennis matches again in 2020 and if things become better soon, the packed schedule is waiting for the players and fans, with many tournaments that have been canceled expressing the desire to go on during late summer or fall.
It was impossible to stage Roland Garros at the end of May and beginning of June and the organizers had reached for the only possible solution, placing the event just a week after the US Open without asking anyone for an opinion or advice, revealing the news on social media and leaving many players in the wilderness.
At the moment, it doesn't seem likely they will get the green light but if that happens, we will have two Majors within five weeks, on different continents and surfaces, making the ultimate tennis challenge even for those from the top.
Many competitors are against this solution but Milos Raonic is not among them, saying it would be nice to have any notable tournament by the end of the year in this reduced schedule, even in packed September weeks if necessary.
The Canadian also admits tennis is not the most essential thing in the world at the moment, waiting for some positive news about the pandemic and working on his physical shape, just like all the other players who had to stay at home in the last couple of weeks.
"Two Majors in four out of five weeks in September; I think that will pose issues for players, with a quick transition from hard to clay. The thing that you really hope for is that it doesn't create an uptick in injuries because that is quite a task.
Am I happy that it is going to happen? I think I am. To have a chance to play as many Grand Slams as possible in what is going to end up being a shortened season for us is a very important thing; I'm happy that a way is found to make it happen and hopefully we can get through to that point and be able to compete in those events.
There was just a disappointment in the way they made the approach; a few players wished they knew a little bit earlier before. I figured it out through social media, and I'm sure many others did as well. We have a big group chat and that's how it came out to all of us; I think that was maybe the hardest part of it to accept.
Still, once you got over that, I think we all understood it is a positive thing for us. Sport, as beautiful as it is, is really a minor concern for everybody nowadays. I think the health of the people around us, the communities, the world.
This is something that the whole world is participating in. If the US Open and Roland Garros do not happen, after all, I think that would be tough but also something that you could get over pretty quickly when you put it in context with everything else that's going on and everything else that needs to happen.
The fact that the focus is strictly on the fitness thing, because it is such a disassociation directly with the competition of playing points, playing sets and matches, does make it a bit easier."