Late on Tuesday, news of the French Open being pushed to September due to the coronavirus hurled the tennis world into turmoil. Players were quick to hit out for not being consulted or informed before the announcement came through a Twitter post. Sania Mirza, who made her comeback on the circuit earlier this year, agrees that the outrage is valid but she’s willing to hold off until the scenario is clearer.
“I just think that there’s a lot going (on) in the world right now and everybody has their hands full. Sure, the players should have been informed. I did get an email from the federation but I was asleep then. Once I was up, I saw the email and then the tweet and spoke to a couple of players and they were obviously very irritated because they first found out about it on Twitter. I’m not sure how the French Open is going to fit into the schedule. Hopefully, things blow over and we should be able to play the US swing. But I don’t know how we are going to suddenly play a clay tournament one week after the hard court season,” Sania told ESPN.
excusez moi??? https://t.co/kb5wi27dRc
– NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) March 17, 2020
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat. Roger didn’t miss the Clay season after all. https://t.co/VbqOyqno54
– Mardy Fish (@MardyFish) March 17, 2020
This is such a difficult time. Everyone is being impacted by this catastrophe. Enhancing communication & working together to find solutions should be the priority. Not going Rogue & making selfish/arrogant decisions to further impact the tour in a negative way. #RolandGarros
– Vasek Pospisil (@VasekPospisil) March 17, 2020
Originally scheduled for May 24-June 7, the season’s second Grand Slam would now be the fourth and final major and will be played between September 20-October 4. The fresh dates now position the French Open one week after the US Open, overlapping with the Laver Cup, which prominently features Rafael Nadal on Team Europe.
Sania, who, a week ago took a 16-hour flight from Dubai after the historic Fed Cup win and travelled by road for another three hours to reach Indian Wells, says the news of its cancellation “freaked” her out. The biggest event outside the four Grand Slams, it was to be a sign of the rolling disruptions ahead.
“I’d finished Fed Cup on Saturday and together with my dad we left for Indian Wells soon after. An hour after we reached California on Sunday evening, players got an email saying the tournament was cancelled. So I had travelled 20 hours basically for nothing,” she says. “Everybody was in a bit of shock on Monday. No one knew what to do. I freaked out. I was also confused about what was going on. In hindsight, it was the right call. There was just so much uncertainty. Nobody really knew the magnitude of what was happening. Maybe the timing could have been better.”
The surprise hitch in plans had them then spend a few days at her paternal aunt’s home in San Diego before returning to Hyderabad last weekend. Reunited with her year and a half old son Izhaan, Sania says self-isolation is proving to be a tough act. “Thankfully both me and my father don’t have any symptoms and we’re feeling healthy. We made sure we didn’t step out of our homes both in San Diego and here in Hyderabad. Izhaan is just excited to have me back and with him around, self-isolation doesn’t look like an easy option.”