"I'm feeling so useless!! What tournament am I preparing for?" Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens had said after learning that because of the virus pandemic, Indian Wells was cancelled and the men's and women's tours will be suspended for nearly 6 weeks.
It may be a hard lesson in nature, but when the beginning of the tennis season is interrupted, calamity will prevail. The 2020 tennis season started with fears and anxiety when the first Grand Slam of the year -- The Australian Open was threatened by bushfires.
They crept up for months before January when the season began and wasn't seriously contained until nearly the finals of the tournament. Coughing, difficulty breathing, smelling the smoking embers and trees burning made players suffer from the horrible conditions.
Animals were burned, too many killed and residents' homes were destroyed resulting in displacement ina land they loved their entire lives. Now it's the Coronavirus which is wreaking havoc on the tennis community along with the entire world.
The only difference is that there's nothing to see. Nothing can be smelt but somehow many people are infected by a virus that handicaps its' victims. Tournament organizers are playing it safe and from discussions with leaders in health, have chosen to close down tournaments because of the crowds and the potential airborne harms that might ensue France's Jeremy Chardy has been out since January when his wife agavea birth to their first child.
"I hadn't played a game and I really wanted to play..." Chardy had admitted to the French media L'Equipe. He had flown to California lookng to improve his ranking and have fun at the PNB Parabus Indian Wells Championships. It was an event he had loss in the first round last year and wants to make up for points lost.
Chardy was starting his exercise regime with his physiotherapist when his coach came and told him "You can stop, the tournament is cancelled." The Frenchman though it was a joke but then came to realize the serious implications of suspended events.
He knew his rankings had slipped in the years and comments that "...I think we are going to have to freeze the rankings otherwise it may become too unfair." Chardy further thought that "If a lot of tournaments are cancelled, it can be difficult.
And for the ATP points, it can be complicated too." Despite the threat of being infected and then going through recuperation, players are also thinking about the financial part of not playing. They aren't under contract as basketballers and other sport participants that get monies regardless.
You don't play in tennis, you receive no prize monies. Former player now tournament director for Indian Wells, Mardy Fish looks at the situation in another direction. He is thinking that the entire clay season be shut down but then frankly says "Can't think they will start back up in Madrid, Rome and then into Paris...???" There are some that try to think on a different mindset.
Sergei Bruguera, Captain of the Spanish Davis Cup says that "Like everyone, I am also hoping that this can be turned around soon..." Garbine Muguruza, Wimbledon Champion comments calmly that "It's time to stop and wait. Take care of yourself and others around you..." The season has truly come to a complexing and frustrating dynamics.
It has touched not only top players, but qulifiers and even chair umpires, linespeople and the entire tennis community. Many ask about refunds for their pre-season purchased tickets of tournaments while others comment about their subscriptions to live streamed programming. In time most of these issues will be taken care of, but hopefully the virus will slowly end as it so drastically began.