“Almost Not Human”: Patrick Mouratoglou Believes Covid-Hit Season Took a Toll on Tennis Players

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Celebrated tennis coach and mentor Patrick Mouratoglou has said the Covid-hit season has taken a toll on players.

Mouratoglou said while the season was curtailed because of the pandemic it affected the players physically and mentally.

The coach runs a tennis academy in his homeland France.

Patrick Mouratoglou says players just as tired as 2019 season

He has mentored a clutch of big names in the game, including Serena Williams.

Speaking to tennismajors.com, Mouratoglou said that the strains of a short but packed season has left the players drained.

Read More: “Won’t Be Satisfied with Good Results”: Patrick Moutoglou Has Great Expectations from Stefanos Tsitsipas

“We’re at the end of the 2020 season. The players have played only three months (since the restart)…

…and they are as tired as they were in 2019 with a full season,” Mouratoglou, nicknamed ‘The Coach’, said.

The coach said it hasn’t been easy for the players to adapt the changing optics around the game.

Adapting to Covid rules has been tough for players, says Patrick Mouratoglou

Since resumption from lockdown, Tour events and Grand Slams have been held with spectators and within the confines of a biosecure bubble.

As part of the new rules in force for Tour events, players are largely confined to their hotel rooms.

Apart from travelling to practice courts, their movements are restricted.

Mouratoglou touched on this new aspect that players have had to adapt to.

Condensed calendar hurt players’ rhythm, says Mouratoglou

“I think there are two main reasons for that (tiredness of players). One is psychological, and the second one is physical,” Mouratoglou said.

“You spend all year long being in a rhythm…

…they haven’t had that rhythm for maybe six, seven, eight months,” ‘The Coach’ said.

He said the condensed calendar post resumption from lockdown has been extremely demanding on players.

“Suddenly, what the ATP and WTA did is an extremely condensed schedule – including two Grand Slams within five or six weeks.

That’s almost not human.

Some guys chose not to play the first Grand Slam in order to be ready to for the second…

…even though they hadn’t been playing for months,” the coach said.

“Yes, it’s only three months, but it’s the three most intense months they’ve ever had in their career,” Mouratoglou said.

Less events, more pressure for players

He said the players were also under pressure to be at their best in whatever events the season could afford.

“When you have much less events, every event becomes much more important.

Grigor Dimitrov/Patrick Mouratoglou
Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov in action during his first round match against Russia’s Karen Khachanov REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

So the pressure is much higher. Then you live in a different world.

For some of the guys they couldn’t have their family around because of Covid…so (there was) extra stress,” Mouratoglou said.

He said some players even fear testing positive as it would rule them out of events.

“Some of them are very scared to be tested positive, because this would mean no tournament,” Mouratoglou said.

Novak Djokovic and Grigor Dimitrov are among the top players who tested positive for the virus this year.

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