PARIS (REUTERS) – Canadian player Vasek Pospisil has criticised the “bubble” in which players at the French Open must remain, saying it is nowhere near as good as the one provided at the US Open.
Pospisil bowed out of the singles with a whimper on Tuesday (Sept 29) to Italian seed Matteo Berrettini and while he is in the doubles with American Jack Sock he gave the impression that his departure from Paris could not come soon enough.
“As soon as I’m done with doubles, I will leave the bubble because it’s not a very good bubble here they made for us,” said Pospisil, who along with Novak Djokovic is one of the main players driving the Professional Tennis Players’ Association (PTPA), a proposed new men’s players’ union.
“It’s not easy mentally to be in it. As soon as I have an opportunity to leave the bubble, I will.”
The French Open has moved from its original date in May-June because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament is going ahead with minimal fans and players are restricted to two designated hotels and the Roland Garros complex.
There were also strict protocols in place at the US Open but players generally applauded the set-up in New York.
“It’s much worse,” Pospisil said.
“At least for the players, the hotel we’re staying at, it’s tough. We don’t have anything.
“The US Open there was a much bigger effort I felt from the organisation to make the time in the bubble a little bit more comfortable for the players. That’s for sure.
“I mean, I think almost every player I’ve spoken to was sharing the same opinion. It’s not easy to be stuck in the bubble. You don’t want to be on-site all day because it’s also a stressful environment, right?
“The only place you can go is the hotel. It’s not easy because you can’t even get fresh air. But that is what it is.”
The US Open bubble resembled a “mini campus” with handy distractions like football pitches, pool tables, cabanas, mini golf, basketball hoops and an outdoor food truck.
“Paris is a tough city because everything is closed, but it’s just a little bit more difficult mentally,” Pospisil added.
He also described the balls being used at the French Open as terrible and said it was something the PTPA would look to change.
“Currently the players have no input. The players should definitely have some input because changing balls every week or every two weeks is not easy on the body, on the arms,” he said.
“It’s definitely something that the PTPA could have an input on. How significant of an input, that depends on many factors. The way it currently stands, we have zero input on the balls.”