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“Hosting a global sport event is still a risk, especially in France” – Match Points excerpt

In the latest edition of Match Points, the panel discuss whether the Roland-Garros delay could allow players to have a few more privileges

April 28, 2021
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The world’s top players will again be in a bubble for this year’s Roland-Garros, a necessary situation as the Tours co-exist with the Coronavirus but one that has led some to openly discuss how tough it has been.

In the latest episode of Match Points, Marion Bartoli, Ben Rothenberg and Simon Cambers discuss whether the one-week delay to Roland-Garros can help players in the form of some extra freedoms.

Rothenberg: “There’s still a huge risk”

Rothenberg thinks the authorities need to be careful when they’re looking at easing restrictions for players.

“There’s still a huge risk,” he says. “That’s probably why the one-week thing doesn’t ring very meaningful to me because the pandemic isn’t going to be over in that one week. It’s still going to be a clear and present danger.”

Bartoli: Larger team would help

Bartoli says players would appreciate anything extra they can get, especially if it meant more people around them.

“If we are able, because of that postponement of one week, to get more public into the stands, and hopefully, to get more of a supporting team for the players and be able to travel with a bigger team, I think that will help them massively to cope with all this situation,” she says.

Cambers: Vaccinated people could have extra privileges

Cambers suggests that the tournament might consider allowing those players who have been fully vaccinated a little leeway when it comes to the bubble rules.

“If players can be encouraged to be vaccinated and told that they going to have a little bit of extra freedom as a result for that, that can only help because some players do need a bit of help in getting vaccinated the first place,” he says.

“I think it was interesting seeing Monte-Carlo, where you had players able to have an hour’s exercise a day which was just a walk or whatever. Maybe it didn’t work in the case of Daniil Medvedev – we don’t know how he caught Covid – but I think, listening to what Nadal said, that gave players a little bit of a sense of freedom.

“Anything the tournament is able to do, while keeping in mind that everything needs to be as safe as possible, and if you are having a lots of fans in you’ve got to keep them safe, it’s about the public too, then it giving them a little bit of a privilege through a vaccination and through that kind of thing might be an option.”

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