Playing matches in empty stadiums and following strict COVID-19 protocols has made the ATP Tour ‘sad, boring and ridiculous’, France’s Benoit Paire said after he was knocked out of the Chile Open by Danish teenager Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune.
The professional circuit was shut down for several months last year before tournament organisers set up biosecure bubbles for players and support staff while keeping fans away from stadiums.
Barring the swing in Australia in February, tournaments continue to be played in front of a handful of fans at most. The lack of spectators has affected players who thrive on a febrile atmosphere, while also impacting tournament finances.
Paire, ranked 29 in the world, said the sport had become a ‘tasteless job’.
“The ATP circuit has become sad, boring and ridiculous,” the 31-year-old, who last month criticised Australian Open organisers for their treatment of players during quarantine, wrote on Instagram.
“I know you are going to say you don’t realize how lucky you are… but playing in closed stadiums without any atmosphere (isn’t) why I play. Having to stay at a hotel or club and be forbidden to go out without risking a fine, where is the pleasure of travelling?
“Tennis (has) become a tasteless job…I need time to adapt to this pseudo ATP circuit but I will make the efforts to try to just rediscover the pleasure of playing tennis.”
Paire, who made headlines last week when he crashed out of the Argentina Open after appearing to tank his final service game and being docked a point for spitting, said results are the last thing on his mind ahead of his trip to Acapulco and Miami.
“My goal will be to have a smile and enjoy hitting a ball,” he said. “Whether I win or lose, I could not care less.”
Medvedev ready to begin new streak after Rotterdam blip
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev said he hopes his 6-2 6-4 win over Egor Gerasimov in Marseille can be the start of another long winning run following a blip in Rotterdam.
The Australian Open finalist’s shock defeat by Serbian Dusan Lajovic at Rotterdam last week was only his second loss in 22 matches.
“It’s time to build a new streak, a new dynamic,” said the Russian, who will move up one place to No. 2 in the world rankings on Monday.
“That’s why tennis is sometimes good and sometimes bad. When you lose first round, you have next week to try to win the tournament.
“But when you win a lot of matches in a row, you can lose a few first rounds and then you are feeling like you’re playing very bad. You always have to remember good moments.”
Medvedev faces 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner in the Marseille quarter-finals.
“That’s a tough draw. I could definitely have an easier draw with playing Egor straightaway and Jannik in the quarters,” he added.
Regardless of the result, he will be the first player outside Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray to be ranked in the top two since Nadal overtook Lleyton Hewitt to become number two in 2005.
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