The 1990 French Open champion, Andres Gomez, says that players who don't follow tournament safety measures should "get penalized and "stay home" instead.
The issue has received a lot of attention since several players and team members have tested positive for coronavirus during the Novak Djokovic-organized Adria Tour in Serbia and Croatia, which had large crowds and frequent interaction between players, including off-court activities like soccer games and a nightclub.
Other exhibition events have taken stricter approaches, and extensive protocols are planned for the resumption of tour play, including at the US Open.
Gomez said it was important for players to adhere to the protocols, and they should be strictly enforced.
“They better get used to it. Maybe in Europe you will have some fans in September, but the sport needs to start with all the safety recommendations. Strictly followed,” Gomez told Tennis.com. “To not do it you should get penalized and treat it as doping or betting. If not ready, stay home and let the ones that are gonna follow the rules play.”
Starting in August, there will be a full lineup of scheduled tour events, including Cincinnati, the US Open, Madrid, Rome, and the French Open—the first official tournaments since the cancellation of Indian Wells. The break could have been good players, suggests Gomez, allowing them to recover from injuries and train or practice their strokes.
“I am sure some players needed the rest and others to get in better shape,” Gomez said. "As for tennis, they will get in the rhythm playing a lot of practice sets."
The Ecuadorian captured the French Open in 1990. (Getty Images)
Gomez says that players will have to be careful about choosing their events and could find it very different when they get back—busy on court but not off it.
“As we can see there are preparation tournaments and exhibition to start getting match tough. Players in semifinals and final are the ones that are gonna be thinking if they would play the next Masters 1000 and Paris,” said Ecuador's Gomez. “There is going to be a lot less for the players to do besides practice and matches, limited press and almost no appearances. It is going to be interesting.”
The now 60-year-old Gomez had his biggest win capturing the French Open in 1990, beating Thomas Muster in the semis before he wore down Andre Agassi in four sets in the final. He also reached No. 4 that year.
“There are matches that I played better than the [French Open] final, but for the importance of the moment that is the first,” he said.
He also reached the quarterfinals at the 1986 US Open, on hard courts, and 1987 Wimbledon. In doubles, he played with Slobodan Zivojinović to win the title at the U.S. Open, and with Emilio Sánchez winning the French Open.
Gomez won 21 singles and 33 doubles titles.