Going for a toss - GulfToday

Going for a toss


Roger Federer

While the sports world is making an effort to get the ball running, the news that the Swiss maestro of tennis will be off the court for this year is ominous. Worrying, not because of his surgery, but because the virus threatens to continue robbing us of sports for a long time (“Roger Federer out of tennis until 2021 after second knee surgery,” June 11, Gulf Today).

We have been waiting with baited breath for tennis to get underway. Though Fed will be missed, it is still unclear as to how many others will eventually participate in events, even if they are held behind closed doors.

A few days back World Number One Novak Djokovic came down heavily on the stipulations likely to be put in place for the US Open, which is likely to be held late August. The Serb described the strict hygiene restrictions under which the US Open is likely to be played as “extreme” and a cap on support teams as “really impossible”.

World number two Rafael Nadal also had similar reservations over the tournament. “In a few months, I don’t know. I hope so. We have to wait for people to return to normal life. And when it does, wait to see how the virus evolves.” What the Spaniard really means is that he would prefer to play completely safe, if at all. So is the case with women’s world number one Ashleigh Barty, who said she needed more information before committing to the US Open.

Coupled with all this are the growing doubts over whether or not the Grand Slam event can go ahead as scheduled in New York, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II, while the French Open has been shifted from May-June to September-October.

Will we see any tennis this year? Let’s wait for the umpire to take the chair.

Ralph R — By email

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