If the players are obviously happy to be able to play tennis again since mid-August, the constraints related to Covid-19 influence their morale. They can’t wait to get back to their former life. Where their job was a celebration, sharing and emotions.
Most of the players who participate in Roland-Garros have a full bank account. They are not to be pitied compared to employees whose boxes are in danger. But by probing some, we feel more and more, since the resumption of the circuit, dawn a little haunting music.
Burnout is not far away. In recent days, there has been the anger returned from disqualified players. But those who have walked the heavy clay of Roland-Garros evoke the absence of pleasure. The constraints – hotel-stadium and basta -, the stress of the tests, the matches without spectators, all of this weighs heavily on my mind.
Eliminated Sunday on the Philippe-Chatrier, David Goffin is among the most psychologically affected. “It was a refusal to pass the obstacle, confided the Belgian after his loss to Jannik Sinner. We will have to make decisions for the rest of the season, which clearly, in this situation, will be very long.” Later, when we said the word “depressed” to him, he didn’t roll his eyes, far from it.
>> Roland-Garros: stress, trauma … how the bubble can make players crack
Chardy: “It becomes a job”
“It’s a bit like that, he said in a small voice. We are a little worried in everything, whether it is for our loved ones, for privacy, how to train. And as soon as we have to to start traveling, we are also in the stress of knowing how it will go. As soon as we arrive, with all the tests, we know that there are players who are disqualified for no reason in each tournament. pray it’s not on us, a false positive test. Depression is a bit harsh, but a little demotivation. ”
Jérémy Chardy, him, does not hide that he saw the situation very badly. Beaten on Sunday in the first round by Austrian Jurij Rodionov in an icy and deserted Lenglen, he is not far from putting an end to the season. “It’s really difficult this period, says the Palois. On my return from New York, I could not see my family (Editor’s note: his wife and baby reside in London). They came here, it was over ‘a month since I hadn’t seen them. Usually, I love playing tennis, I love being in tournaments. There, it really becomes a job. I have trouble training, I don’t take not at all fun on the court in training, in a game. “
Ravioli awaits the papouilles of Benoît Paire
A spleen shared by Benoît Paire who has just experienced a terrible month. Tested positive for Covid-19 before the start of the US Open, confined for ten days in his room on Long Island, he was able to play in Rome and Hamburg. And yet in Germany it was again positive! Arrived in Paris, he had the fear of being disqualified.
“I did my test and then I got a call from Bernard Montalvan (Editor’s note: the doctor from the FFT) who told me: ‘You are negative’. I was happy but not euphoric. It’s not the same. Usually I’m with my family, with my friends. I’m very happy when I’m in Paris, I go to small restaurants. There, having to be locked in the room again or at the club and not be able to sharing these moments with the public is something difficult. If I lose I will go home, I will see my dog, I will see my family and then I will be happy too.
Ravioli (Editor’s note: his chocolate Labrador) will therefore be entitled to big taste buds when his master has been eliminated. Hugs is also what Caroline Garcia was able to share with her parents when she found them a week ago in Spain, in Alicante, her sunny pied-à-terre. “To tell the truth, it did me a lot of good to just give them a hug because with all that, the physical contact, it’s not too much. Sometimes you feel a little lonely”, a she said.
The Australian Open ultimatum
In a sport where defeats accumulate every week, you need to have a strong shell. At 21, Elliot Benchetrit is full of passion. But this period is not easy when you sail beyond the 200th place in the world. “To say that we play in harsh conditions, without an audience, without anything, is almost demoralizing”, he admits. With his classification, he does not know in which Challenger he will be able to replay because the registration lists are extremely high.
In this gloomy period, the “coup de grace” was dealt by Craig Tiley. In a letter addressed to the players, the director of the Australian Open reassured on the holding of the Grand Slam. But a strict quarantine will be enforced and players are strongly advised to arrive in Oceania before December 14!
“Yes, I saw that, commented, fatalistic, Jérémy Chardy. Besides, some say that for two weeks, you have to stay in your room. Afterwards, maybe they will lock us up for another two weeks before leave! I don’t know. Besides, they don’t have any positive cases… “
The Frenchman keeps a little humor but the winter will be strange. Usually, players celebrated Christmas as a family before embarking on the long journey. The covid-19 upsets all the habits of tennis players. And it eats away at brains.