Match Points #27 – Roland-Garros one week later: Why do the French think it will change anything?
The latest episode of our show sees the panel discuss Daniil Medvedev’s scathing comments on the postponement of Roland-Garros – and the prospect of two weeks in a bubble in Paris
The Russian called the week postponement “a bit ridiculous”, suggesting it was superfluous in the middle of a pandemic.
Journalist Simon Cambers said that pushing the timing back by a week wasn’t ideal for anyone, least of all the players – but added that they ought to count their blessings.
“Players like to moan, we know that,” he said. “They should be thankful they’re out there playing and able to play a lot of tournaments.”
Cambers was quick to say, however, that the Russian was perfectly entitled to give his views – and he was just answering a question that a journalist asked.
“He said what he felt and probably what a lot of players felt,” he said.
Bartoli: “The government has a lot of say”
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli explained that the government of France and the French Tennis Federation had been in discussions about planning for Roland-Garros for many months.
“Roland-Garros is part of French history the same as the Tour de France,” she said. “The government has a lot of say in terms of dates and how many people they’re allowing into the stadium.”
However, she thought the communication about the change of date could have been better, with players getting a heads-up rather than learning about it on social media.
And though she felt that Medvedev’s comments were “harsh”, made without the necessary background information, she added: “A player has the right to say whatever they want.”
Give additional privileges to vaccinated players – Ben Rothenberg
Bartoli will be at Roland-Garros, and confirmed that she will be vaccinated beforehand. She is not looking forward to returning to the closed bubble environment.
“I’ve been in those bubbles with Jelena Ostapenko – I’ve experienced how difficult it is for the players to go on like this, week in week out. It’s exhausting.”
She explained that players are fearful and stressed about the possibility of returning a positive test for coronavirus, and she hoped that the week’s delay to the tournament would mean that more of their entourage might be able to join them and offer them additional support.
Journalist Ben Rothenberg said he would like to see Roland-Garros give additional privileges to vaccinated players, encouraging them to take up the opportunity of a vaccine. He pointed out that some players had already said they didn’t see the point of getting a jab if they still had to be in a strict bubble – which he described as “selfish and stupid”.
And so he thought that if vaccinated players did get more liberty than non-vaccinated ones, more would opt for a vaccine rather than have to obey all the bubble rules.