Sat, 30 May 2020

British tennis star Johanna Konta has described the surprise rescheduling of the French Open as "a really sad situation" and admits that talk of potential Wimbledon cancellation is "heart-breaking".

The coronavirus has thrown all walks of life into chaos and tennis is no different with all tournaments suspended until 7 June.

Although this year's Wimbledon is only due to start on 27 June, the All England Club will hold an emergency board meeting this week and many believe they will cancel the event.

Doubles star Jamie Murray believes Wimbledon will be cancelled as "it is difficult to move the tournament".

In an interview with Standard Sport, world No 14 Konta expressed her sadness at the expected Wimbledon cancellation.

"Like with every event, it's heart-breaking, a really sad situation to be faced with," she said.

"With happening in the world right now, I don't think it will actually change anything I'm currently doing.

"I'll still be self-isolating, staying as fit as I can, spending time with my dog and my boyfriend and staying in touch with my family on FaceTime.

"But it definitely prolongs this reality; not looking too far ahead is going to be really important for me."

The French Open, though, remains on the 2020 calendar after Roland Garros officials stunned the tennis community a few weeks back by announcing that the tournament has been moved from its 24 May - 7 June slot to 20 September - 4 October.

Konta says the decision left a bad taste in the mouth and urged the tennis fraternity to work together.

"It's a really sad situation and it's very disappointing for them to release their decision in the way that they did," she said.

"It's not the act itself, but the manner which was disappointing to everybody in the tennis community. It's left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths."

She added: "Collectively we are all the limbs that make up tennis. Without players there are no tournaments and without tournaments there are no players.

"The more we can stay together, the easier the transition back into playing will be and everyone will get their opportunity to compete."

Tennis has always been a no play, no pay sport and the lower-ranked players will be hit hard with the cancellation of tournaments.

Konta is a member of the WTA Player Council and revealed they are working on a support system for the players, but concedes the situation is "very bleak" at the moment.

"The reality is that there is no tennis player earning any money right now; all the tennis players have taken a 100 per cent salary cut," she said.

"Everyone is trying to find the best way possible to stand by a team and support the people you work with and feel close to while not bankrupting yourself.

"[A support system] is being worked on right now, but the reality is that even if it is possible - and let's hope it is - it's going to be very minimal.

"It's a very bleak and dire situation especially for the lower-ranked players."

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