The tennis player Albert Ramos-Viñolas, who resides in the Principality of Andorra for more than a year, where his wife works as a dentist, assured EFE that he does not know when to play again, a circumstance for which “it is difficult to maintain motivation”.
Ramos, 32, currently ranks 41st in the ATP ranking.
– After two months locked up at home due to the health crisis caused by Covid-19, the three professional tennis players who reside in the Principality of Andorra return to train. What have been the first feelings?
– The truth is that on the one hand I really wanted to train on a tennis court again and on the other hand we still don't have a date to compete again. Everything is very uncertain. The concern of seeing everything that happens in the world and all this unites you to the happiness of training again and also to the uncertainty to know when we will compete again.
– How do professional tennis players manage this situation so full of uncertainty?
– It is not easy. We are like other workers. We are autonomous. We only bill when we can compete not like in other sports. Now they have to decide if it will be played in July, but I think it is impossible. Later we will talk about the month of August and it is much more complicated. We have to train to keep fit and be prepared for the return of the competition. Of course, it is very good to return to training and makes the days go a little faster. It's good to have a schedule routine again.
– During these two months at home, how have you trained?
– I couldn't train. Monday was my first day. We had permission to do so. I spent 10 minutes training as it started to rain and on Tuesday I trained for an hour. After two months stopped you cannot train very hard. I got the first sore on my hand and that comes out after so many days without training and my hands lose grip. We are doing little by little. Normally, at this temperature, we train on an open track, but we did not count on the rain and it looks like it is going to rain a lot these days.
– Argentine tennis player Marco Trungelliti, 'Trunge', said the other day that you did not see yourself playing a game of tennis until 2021. Are you also pessimistic?
– I am not able to say a return date and I would deceive you if I told you one. The ATP is being prepared in case we return to play much earlier, but it depends on how the world is as we are players from many different countries and we have to travel from one country to another. I would like if it can be played at the end of the year at the latest. More than anything so that so many months do not pass without competing. If we have a close objective everything is easier, but nothing is known for sure.
– How are you living economically?
– It is evident that we do not have any income and we continue to have the expense of paying for the teams, the coaches, the physical trainers. We are like a small business. These are difficult times and we hope that they pass as soon as possible, but in my case I have been very lucky in my sports career and I have had very good results. I answer this question, but without any reason for complaint or lamentation. I simply explain it this way because this is a different sport than others.
– How personally are you managing this pandemic?
– In my case, and I am very sincere, I have taken it in the best possible way. This is the 10th year that I am in the top 100 and traveling 30 to 35 weeks each year. I have taken the opportunity to be with my wife since we are in a situation in which we are expecting a child. I have been able to enjoy the pregnancy and also to be calm at home. It is clear that everything that is happening is very sad, but it has come to me at a time that has been very good on a personal level and I have been able to stay at home.
– His family lives in Mataró and also his friends are there. How are they all? Have you experienced it with concern from afar?
– Everyone is fine. I have relatives who have died relatives who were not my direct. Especially older people. This virus affects them a lot and we have already seen it. On the one hand I live it with concern since I am aware that this will take a long time to be controlled. Many speak of the arrival of the vaccine, many others say that the population will have to infect the majority. I am not a doctor and I have no training in these subjects and I cannot say that they do not concern me. It is an uncertainty not knowing when normality will return.
– Your last game was the semifinals of the Torneo de Santiago de Chile on February 29 … do you want to return to the competition?
– Yes. The issue is training without knowing when you can compete. The maximum that I have trained have been six weeks in a row with the aim of starting the season. Now we may be eight months without playing, as predicted by 'Trunge', and it is difficult to have motivation.
– 'Trunge' commented that the ATP had forgotten the tennis players. Do you think the same?
– It's a bit radical, isn't it? (smile). I honestly believe that there are some things at the tennis level that have not been done well and now with this crisis they are seen. During this time they have been enduring since it is a sport that has charismatic tennis players such as Roger Federer, Rafa Nadal or Novak Djokovic. Now it has been seen that there are things badly distributed although I know that they are working to improve them.
– Have you looked at the calendar and thought about whether you would like to compete again in Andorra?
– Anywhere. When we are told to return, it will mean that the world will be minimally stabilized and the situation of the pandemic will be a little better. No matter where we play, the important thing will be to know when we will compete again.
– You do not stop traveling from country to country. Did you expect a virus to stop the world?
– No. I wasn't expecting it. When I was in Australia I saw that they were talking about something in China and that they would start canceling some Challenger tournaments, but nothing like this had ever happened to us. I didn't pay much attention and when I was in South America I was already more aware. When I got there I was scared.
– Some say that this pandemic will change as a society. Do you think the same?
– I do not think so. I think when this happens I guess people will continue to travel. Now there is a lot of fear and this fear, once this happens, will return everything to its previous place.