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Nick Kyrgios, Roger Federer weigh in on modified Wimbledon bubble
Many players have adjusted to Wimbledon's COVID-19 protocols by arranging soccer viewings and get-togethers.
Published Jul 01, 2021
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It's Wimbledon, but not as most players know it. Having been cancelled in 2020, the tournament is back but in a 'bubble' this year.
Players are all staying at the Park Plaza Westminster in London, and can only go between the hotel and grounds. According to Marca, higher-ranked players have designated cars to take them back and forth while others must use tournament transport. Competitors can also only bring three team members with them.
It's a big change from private housing, walking to the courts and local amenities, all of which players are usually used to during the Championships. But most tournaments have had similar restrictions.
"That's why I didn't play most of the year," said Nick Kyrgios. "But, yeah, that's why this week I brought my girlfriend, I brought my best friend. I wanted to bring two people that I trusted, that I was very comfortable around, that made me feel good."
Known for socializing with the neighborhood crowds during the tournament, he's had a tough adjustment. "But, yeah, anyone that's in the bubble, I commend them for their efforts," he said. "It's not easy. It's not easy to disconnect tennis. Usually you can go back to your house in the Village, go for a walk, just disconnect."
Unlike Kyrgios, most players have brought a coach and trainer on their team. Among them is Roger Federer, who's happy to be playing the tournament again even with these conditions.
"It took me some getting used to, the first day or two—understanding where we're allowed to go, what we're allowed to do. By now, I've gotten used to it, I'm embracing it, I'm okay with it," he said before the tournament began. "It does feel totally different.
"But I still feel it's a big privilege that I'm actually able to play Wimbledon. It's great, that Wimbledon's back on and I'm happy to be here. So I'm not going to be complaining."
A lot of players have found a diversion in the form of the European soccer championships—since they're all staying in the same place, some have been gathering together to watch the games. Federer stayed up as Switzerland set up a meeting with Spain. Another viewing session was organized by Alexander Zverev.
"I mean, me and all the German boys, we already set up that we are going to watch it all in my room, because I have kind of like a small apartment where everybody can fit," he said.
But months of such limitations have had an effect on players, including Bianca Andreescu.
"Being away from home for, like, more than six, seven months is super hard," she said following a first-round exit. "I'm sure a lot of players can agree with me.
"I feel like I dealt with it in the best way that I could."
The tournament is being played with half its usual crowds allowed on the grounds.