Sport Which is why Roger Federer is threatened with an...

Which is why Roger Federer is threatened with an exit through the back door

Between erosion and explosion: Why Roger Federer threatens to exit through the back door

Games in tennis are suspended until mid-July. But resumption seems illusory. At the moment there is not even a consensus about where, when and under what conditions it can be played again. Fundamental changes are imminent for world tennis.

Simon Häring / ch media

While football in Germany is returning to normality with ghost games in mid-May, tennis is having trouble with scenarios for getting out of the corona crisis. Too global the sport, too unequal the conditions to be able to make statements about when, where and under what conditions can be played again. And the reluctance of many players to move to the agenda is also too great. It is almost certain that faults and fundamental upheavals will occur, whether as erosion or explosion. This has not least to do with a move by Roger Federer, who suggested a merger of the two professional associations WTA and ATP. The most important questions and answers in brief.

Roger Federer is committed to a merger of the WTA and the ATP, the professional associations for women and men. Image: AP

When will you play again?

The game will be temporarily suspended until July 13, and if the organizers of the French Open decide that the second Grand Slam tournament of the year will be played in Paris from September 20. That doesn’t seem particularly realistic. Because it has now become known that the Australian Open is already assuming that in January 2021, ideally, the game can only be played in front of Australian spectators, and that the players would have to quarantine for two weeks after entry. Tennis Australia is also dealing with a cancellation scenario. At the moment there is not even a consensus on the conditions under which the tennis circus could return to normal. Novak Djokovic has already said that he would resist vaccination.

Novak Djokovic caused a sensation with the statement to oppose a possible compulsory vaccination against the corona virus. Picture: EPA / AFP POOL

What do the players say?

Opinion leaders do not expect the game to resume soon. Rafael Nadal told the Spanish newspaper “El Pais” that he does not expect 2020 to be played. Stan Wawrinka made a similar statement in “L’Equipe”. Novak Djokovic, who is currently in Marbella, Spain, and trained there illegally, regularly entertains his followers with live conversations on social media. As President of the Players’ Council, he is reluctant to comment on tennis policy issues. The same applies to Roger Federer, who through his foundation in Africa supports 64,000 children and their families with food packages with one million dollars.

Rafael Nadal does not expect tournaments to take place this year. A return in January would already be a success. Picture: EPA

Is there an aid fund?

Unlike the figureheads such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic or Serena Williams, who make a lot more money as advertising media, the majority of tennis players depend significantly on the prize money that are distributed at tournaments. If no tournaments are played, they cannot make a living. Now the four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open), the World Tennis Federation ITF, and the professional organizations for women and men, WTA and ATP, have set up an aid fund for players affected by the pandemic. The $ 60 million will be distributed to 800 players. The distribution key is secret.

Will there be a merger?

With three short messages on Twitter, Roger Federer unceremoniously lifted the tennis world at the end of April when he suggested the establishment of an umbrella organization for men’s and women’s tennis. The idea is well received, but is still in its infancy. Not only would the organization have to be put on a new footing, but also the tournament calendar. Contracts with rights holders would also have to be renegotiated. It can hardly be assumed that Roger Federer is still experiencing this new tennis world order as a player. And if the pandemic continues, he faces the risk of leaving through the back door.


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