In spite of the privileges for the top players, life in the “bubble” demands a lot even from fourth in the world rankings. “At the end of the day, he’s human. People have their moods and are dependent on external circumstances, ”Thiem manager Herwig Straka told the APA. “If it’s like in Australia that you go into quarantine for weeks so that you then play in front of an audience, and then that is ruled out again, then of course that has an effect.”
This not only affects Thiem himself, but many players. “The whole discussion and the increasing aggressiveness in the postings has to do with the fact that they are all dissatisfied with the ‘bubble’ situation,” says Straka. The Styrian did not deny that this is, in a certain way, a reflection of society, which in some cases reacts increasingly irritated to the measures taken against the pandemic. “The players know very well that they are privileged, but the fact is that a ‘bubble’ is mentally insane.”
Thiem is working on his tournament calendar
There is a new small change in the tournament schedule: After Easter from April 11th, Thiem will return to the tour at the Masters 1000 event in Monte Carlo, but will not play at the 500 tournament in Barcelona, but at the 250 in Belgrade. In Spain, Thiem would actually be defending champion because of the cancellation last year. Then Thiem plays Madrid, Rome and the French Open.
In Belgrade, the tournament is practically co-organized by world number one Novak Djokovic, the matches take place in his Novak Tennis Center. The fact that there were several coronavirus cases (including Djokovic himself among others) at the same point on the Adria Tour at the same point and also because of exuberant parties did not make the decision difficult. Straka assumes that the organizers have learned from the past.
Criticism of the lower prize money is dispensable
Straka, who is responsible for many decisions on the three-person ATP Board of Directors, does not think much of the burgeoning criticism of some players about the lower prize money. “The fact is that in times of pandemics there is no more money. Even if the players always believe that the tournaments earn so much money, ”said the Styrian. “We are proud that we are doing the tour. In contrast to most other sports, we have a tour. “
The recurring proposals for a longer, local “bubble” modeled on the National Basketball Association (NBA) have been examined, said Straka. “In tennis we are global, we play on different continents and time zones. You would not only lose ticket sales, but also sponsors. ”It would only solve the travel problem, but not the financial worries.