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French Open bubble not a real bubble, but Paris off-limits

SeattlePI.com Thursday, 1 October 2020
So many in tennis love their annual French Open visit to the City of Lights for reasons that have nothing to do with tennis.

This year, though, because of the coronavirus pandemic — cases have been rising in France — players, coaches and others are not getting the chance to sightsee or stroll, eat at their favorite brasserie or enjoy a croissant at a sidewalk cafe during the 15-day tournament that ends Oct. 11.

Or as Karolina Pliskova, the No. 2-seeded woman at Roland Garros, lamented: “Maybe I miss, a little, shopping. But that can wait, I guess.”

It has to. Because here is how the situation was described by 2014 Wimbledon doubles champion Vasek Pospisil, who recently teamed with Novak Djokovic to launch an association to represent players: “The only place you can go is the hotel.”

Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. They can go to the tournament site. And they can go to the separate practice site.

But that’s about it. They're essentially “stuck in the bubble,” in Pospisil's words — although it actually isn't really a bubble at all, at least not like those far stricter setups for the NBA and NHL postseasons, for example.

There are two official hotels in Paris, and players have noticed other folks being there despite no connection to the French Open, which British player Dan Evans said made him “a little nervous.”

“Anyone can kind of walk in,” said Mackie McDonald, the 2016 NCAA champion in singles and doubles for UCLA who lost to 12-time champion Rafael Nadal in the second round at Court Philippe Chatrier on Wednesday.

“When I arrived at the U.S. Open, it literally felt like you were escorted, and there was security right there. When I first arrived (in Paris), I got out of the car and I was expecting kind of the same thing ... and...
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French Open bubble not a real bubble, but Paris off-limits

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