Federer makes impassioned plea amid COVID-19 pandemic

andrewhendrie in News 21 Mar 2020
Roger Federer (Photo by Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM)

Roger Federer has taken to social media in a desperate plea for people to take serious action against the coronavirus.

Federer is currently recovering from knee surgery that he underwent last month and is shacked up with his family in the Swiss mountains.

Switzerland has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, with a total of 6,863 people contracting COVID-19 at the time of writing, with 80 deaths. Hospitals are reportedly approaching capacity.

Amid the worldwide health pandemic, Federer took to Instagram to post a video message on Saturday, urging his 7.4 million followers to self-isolate at home and follow social distancing recommendations.

“I’m also staying home, and I haven’t been shaking anybody’s hands for quite some time now,” Federer said.

“I wash my hands very frequently as we’re supposed to. I believe helping each other is more important now than ever, especially because we want to help the older generation.

“They’re the ones at highest risk, and we need to help them by keeping a distance of two metres and not shake hands.

“It’s really important to take these rules seriously. Very very seriously. Eventually, we could all be in quarantine and not be able to leave the house anymore, so I really hope all of us take it very seriously.”

The 38-year-old is planning to return to tennis for the grass-court season in June, which tennis officials are privately hoping can still go ahead as originally scheduled.

It’s looking like Federer won’t miss any tournaments as a result of the ATP and ITF suspending Indian Wells, Miami and the entire clay-court swing, including Roland Garros.

The ATP has also frozen players’ current rankings, meaning Federer will stay at No. 4 in the world until the sport makes a return.

Meanwhile, Swiss Fed Cup captain Heinz Guenthardt has declared he expects Federer to push for the Laver Cup to be rescheduled to avoid a clash of dates with Roland Garros.

French Open officials confirmed last week that their clay-court slam would be moving to a start date of September 20 – one week after the U.S. Open and running through the Laver Cup, the exhibition tournament Federer helped establish alongside his management company TEAM8, Tennis Australia and the USTA.

“No certainly not,” Guenthardt told Tages Anzeiger when asked if he thought Federer would push for the original Laver Cup dates to remain.

“Nor can I imagine Federer insisting on the date of the Laver Cup.

“If you had the choice as a tennis fan: Laver Cup or Roland Garros, which would you choose? In Paris, 128 men and 128 women play in the main field alone, plus qualifications and doubles.

“There are about a dozen players at the Laver Cup. The ATP is a player association, it must act accordingly.

“Especially because the players in the lower ranks are now dependent on the money of the French Open.”