The Daily Telegraph - Business : 2020-09-23

Sport Covid Crisis : 15 : 7

Sport Covid Crisis

7 The Daily Telegraph Wednesday 23 September 2020 *** ‘I hated every Zoom call, there was never any update, it felt like they were stringing us along’ object to the way the qualifying event has been run. According to one source: “Their general attitude is that they are doing the players a favour by staging the event at all.” In his podcast, Rubin highlighte­d his concerns about the lack of an immediate quarantine for those arriving at Roland Garros. “You didn’t get a test as soon as you walked into the bubble,” he said. “Players showed up on Wednesday, actually hit on site that day, went out to dinner in Paris, then got a test on Thursday. That just doesn’t make that much sense to me.” Rubin also said that he had not played a warm-up tournament to arrive in good time. “We know how long it takes for Covid to get into someone’s system or to test positive. For some players to come maybe less than 48 hours before their first match, you’re rolling the dice.” The US Open created ill-feeling among a group of players – the socalled “Paire 11” – who were confined to their rooms in New York after spending time with the French player Benoit Paire, who then tested positive. Those worst affected were probably Kristina Mladenovic and her partner Timea Babos – the top seeds in the women’s doubles – who were ordered to remain in their hotel in Long Island by public health officials, and thus had to concede their second-round match without taking to the court. £300. “It was stressful for me, I was a bit more aware of what was going on than some of the players,” Mitchell says. “I have often questioned whether I should have done things differentl­y as a leader and I still do. Phil and I had a lot of conversati­ons about this – were we a bit naive?” The signs had certainly been there. The RFU told players in early summer to “explore other options” and more uncertaint­y was created when Simon Amor, who was due to coach the British men’s squad at the Tokyo Olympics, was appointed as the attack and skills coach for Eddie Jones’s XVs side and not replaced. “That period of time from April through to July and a bit of August was really torrid,” says Mitchell. “Every time we got on a Zoom call, I hated it. I actually said on one of the calls towards the end, ‘I would rather not have one of these anymore unless there is a genuine update’. But there were never really any. It felt like they were stringing us along. “It was incredibly frustratin­g. Those calls would ruin my days. I know that sounds a bit precious but, when you multiply that feeling 30 times between the men’s and women’s

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