Roger Federer Comes Out Against Fan-Less Tournaments

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All professional matches have been suspended since March with tennis bosses hoping to get going again in August. However, it is still unclear as to how this will happen with both the US Open and French Open yet to outline plans for their tournaments scheduled to take part later this year. It has been reported that the United States Tennis Association is moving more towards potentially holding their major without fans following positive feedback from their sponsors. Meanwhile, Roland Garros had previously issued similar views.


“Two months ago, it just didn’t feel like you could stage the celebration or the spectacle that is the U.S. Open in a no-fan scenario and have it be what we think of as the U.S. Open,” USTA Chief Revenue Officer Lew Sherr told The Business Journal.
“As we’ve gone forward, I’ve come around to recognizing what an achievement it would be to play, and how much our fans are missing the game and would be excited to see the competition, and that you need to think about it differently. It’s a different event. It would be broadcast differently, it would be consumed differently, it’s not just playing the U.S. Open as you know it, with empty seats.”

However, not everybody is on the same board as Sherr with world No.4 Federer said that the idea of playing in empty stadiums will be ‘very hard’ for him. During a recent interview published by Global Esporte, the Swiss tennis star argues that players feed off the crowd and atmosphere. He made the comments whilst speaking in support of 1 Gustavo Kuerten’s “Winning Together” initiative, which aims to support 35,000 Brazilian families during the Coronavirus outbreak.

“In my view, I can’t see an empty stadium,” Federer said.
“I can not. I hope that doesn’t happen. Even if most of the time we are training there is no one, everything is quiet, in silence.”

Federer isn’t the only player to speak out against the idea with fellow former champion Marin Cilic previously saying that a fan-less US Open could devalue the event. Nevertheless, it may be the most viable option that the USTA has given the current situation. New York, which is where the grand slam is held, have been the epicentre of the epidemic in America. As of May 23rd there have been a total of 359,926 cases with 23,195 deaths, according to official figures.

“For us, of course, it is possible to play without any fans,” he said. “But on the other hand, I really hope that the circuit can return as it normally is. May we wait for the appropriate time to return to normal mode again. At least a third of the stadium or half full. But for me, completely empty when playing in big tournaments is very difficult.”

Although not everybody is against the idea of playing the event behind closed doors. In a recent interview with BBC Radio 5 British player Dan Evans said the event could be ‘strange, but iconic.’

Federer, who turns 39 in August, has admitted that he isn’t practising at present because ‘he doesn’t see a reason to’ as he cast doubt on a return date in the near future. He hasn’t played a competitive match since the Australian Open after taking time off the tour to undergo knee surgery for only the second time in his career.

“I’m not training at the moment because I don’t see a reason for that to be honest,” Federer explained. “I am happy with my body now and I still believe that the lap of the circuit is a long way off. And I think it’s important for my head at this point to enjoy this break after playing so much tennis. I don’t miss it so much. I will feel it eventually when I am close to returning and have a goal to train for. I’m going to be super motivated.”

The US Open is scheduled to start on August 31st with the French Open getting underway on September 21st. Although the date of the French Open could still change.


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