Jan 19, 2021
A letter to tennis players in lockdown
Dear freedom deprived tennis players,
I’ve heard you’re unhappy about being locked in hotel rooms for a few weeks, and it does sound less than ideal.
If someone suddenly locked me in a hotel room for a fortnight, I’d be furious.
I, therefore, thought it would be worth letting you know the reason why you’ve been locked in a hotel room for two weeks. I do this to prove to you that you haven’t been cut off from twice a week hairdresser appointments for no reason.
It’s a thing called a global pandemic and let me tell you, it’s been annoying for a lot of people, not just tennis players. In fact, for 2.04 million people across the globe it’s been a lot more than annoying.
I can only assume many of you are unaware of the dangers of Covid19, due to you coming from places like Europe and the United States where governments have managed the pandemic so well.
The thing you need to understand is this virus spreads faster than you can imagine. If one person has it, soon the majority of people around them can have it too, just ask Novak Djokovic, a global expert in spreading the virus.
It’s this fast spread and threat of death that has you in your hotel room.
I know it must feel like no one understands what you’re going through, but I promise, Melburnians do have some sense of it.
We went through a few lockdowns this year, including one that lasted three months.
It was a dark time for all of us, and weirdly, we’re not too keen on risking that happening again, even for a tennis tournament.
Our long lockdown also means we look at your two weeks in quarantine much like a marathon runner looks at someone walking from the couch to the fridge.
Sure, I get after two weeks you have to play tennis and we didn’t, but we had our own problems with conditioning. During my three-month lockdown, I spoke to no adults face-to-face, then I was suddenly allowed out and I wasn’t conditioned for social interaction.
My first interaction went like this:
Shop assistant: “Can I help you, sir?”
Me: “Hold me.”
Shop assistant: “Please stop sobbing sir.”
So, while I get you’re in a tough place, sometimes it’s worth figuring out what people other than yourselves have been through or are currently going through, and realise that while your situation is not perfect, you’re not going through one of the greatest injustices of human history.
P.S. I know many of you aren’t complaining, and I thank you for your self-awareness, a rare commodity these days.
My book Cheat: The Not-so-subtle Art of Conning Your Way to Sporting Glory is out now.