While pro tennis players remain grounded around the world, Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff claims that he has received special permission from local government to train two or three times a week on court despite the coronavirus crisis.
I can understand that such exemptions for athletes are viewed critically by the rest of the population in the current situation, but it’s also my job, and we have strict requirements. Jan-Lennard Struff
Struff, who is based in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, has made the case that it is essential to his job that he is allowed to train and remain fit for when the ATP Tour resumes following the COVID-19 lockdowns around the globe.
“[Playing two or three times] is enough,” Struff told Sueddeutsche Zeitung. “It’s the small steps that feel right in these times.
“I can understand that such exemptions for athletes are viewed critically by the rest of the population in the current situation, but it’s also my job, and we have strict requirements.”
Struff, the World No 34, says he is not currently worried about the financial hit he may take due to the coronavirus crisis, but admits he is worried for lower-ranked players.
“From a position in the world rankings of 100 or maybe 150, it will probably be problematic,” he said.
“These players will first have to do without travelling with their coaches and physiotherapists.
“A cycle will be set in motion, and many will fall by the wayside.”
Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta agrees, the former World No 10, who has dropped to 25 in the rankings, saying that while he is not experiencing financial difficulties at present, he knows of lower-ranked players who are already in trouble.
“I currently have no money problems because I managed to earn enough, but I know tennis players who are living off their parents’ money,” he said.
“We are not able to work at the moment, so incomes are zero and expenses keep coming. Mortgages, paying physical trainers and technical staff, the gym where I train… It’s very complicated.
“We live in a society where athletes are seen as privileged, with large and luxurious houses, but there are also other tennis players who do not have the same possibilities and who do not receive money that are very bad.”
The 28 year old added that he thinks the suspension of the tour will be extended to beyond the current date of 13 July.
“We hope that this situation will continue for the shortest possible time because recovering to the level we were at will be very complicated.
“We currently don’t have tennis until July 13, but I think the deadline will be extended,” he said.
“It would be good if they discovered a vaccine so that the circuit can resume later this year but I think we will not be able to play.”
The Spaniard has won 4 ATP titles in his career and earned himself more than $9 million in career prize money.