While the governing bodies of tennis are leaving no stone unturned to find a way to restart proceedings, Roger Federer has come out and voiced his opinion about the idea of playing behind closed doors.
After two months of the global lockdown caused by the pandemic, sports are resuming in their restrained capacities — Bundesliga returned with empty stadiums and new health protocols last week, and even cricket resumed in the Caribbean through a fanless Vincy Premier League.
Although the Wimbledon was cancelled in April because of the coronavirus outbreak, the French Open and the US Open are still on schedule later this year. Earlier, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal had even indicated that they were open to the idea of playing without fans.
But, the 20-time Grand Slam winner is in opposition to the possibility of tennis without fans. “I can’t imagine competing in an empty stadium, I don’t succeed and I hope it will never happen. Although when we train there are no people, competing is very different,” said Federer.
“It is clear that the possibility is feasible, but I think we could wait for the appropriate moment to return in the best conditions, with at least a third of the stadium full. It would be very difficult for me to play major tournaments behind closed doors,” added the 38-year-old.
With broadcasting deals and livelihoods of lower-ranked players dependant on the sport’s resumption, competing behind closed doors is considered to be the only safe option by the authorities.
Earlier this month, the French Tennis Federation said it was in talks with the ATP, WTA, and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) over a revised calendar for the season.