Former champion Stan Wawrinka is hoping to play the French Open in September, but admits ‘it is difficult to see…
Former champion Stan Wawrinka is hoping to play the French Open in September, but admits ‘it is difficult to see the end’ when it comes to tennis returning.
Wawrinka, the 2015 Roland Garros champion, concedes he’s doubtful that the clay-court slam will be able to be held in September due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Currently we are in the middle of this crisis,” the Swiss told tennismajors.com. “It is difficult to see the end.”
“I hope,” he added. “I hope for the world that we will all be at the stage where we can compete again in September, that would mean things went well.”
Wawrinka says the biggest issue holding tennis back further than other sports is the need for essential international travel on an a weekly basis.
Players are required to travel to a different country almost every week of the year – a possibility that seems light years away in the current climate.
“We come from all around the world. We are all in confinement. So the first step is for us all to get out. The second stage is to get to the shopping and the restaurants. The third is to travel. It takes time,” Wawrinka said on the subject of tennis returning.
Wawrinka’s views come as Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced that Australian Open 2021 was already preparing for the worst-case scenario of cancelling their tournament in January next year.
For now, a small number of low-tier and modified exhibitions are being rolled out across the world in a bid to get players back competing in a safe environment.
The action is set to heat up in the coming weeks with World No. 8 Matteo Berrettini headlining the UTR Pro Match Series in Florida, while Patrick Mouratoglou will hold a five-week long competition at his luxurious academy in the south of France later this month.
Wawrinka says these tournaments are a positive for both players and fans – but also declared he won’t be competing in them any time soon due to the risk of injury.
“Everything that leads to playing tennis again, for the players, for the coaches, for the fans as well, is something that is very positive for tennis,” he said.
“Do I imagine playing [this type of event]? Maybe but not for now,” he said. “For the moment we are very far from competition.”
Wawrinka had put together a solid start to 2020 before the season was suspended in March, making the semi-finals in Doha, the quarter-finals at the Australian Open – beating fourth seed Daniil Medvedev along the way – and the last eight in Acapulco.