Covid could prompt older players to retire early: Adrian Mannarino
World No. 35 and Singapore Tennis Open top seed Adrian Mannarino, 32, said the challenges of playing on the ATP Tour amid the Covid-19 pandemic may prompt older players to retire early.
The professional tennis circuit was disrupted by the coronavirus, with tournaments suspended from early March till late August last year.
When the ATP Tour resumed, the new normal was markedly different, with players largely spending their time isolating at hotels then shuttling between their accommodation and the tennis courts.
At this month's Australian Open, world No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut likened the 14-day hotel quarantine to prison "with Wi-Fi". On Monday, world No. 39 John Millman said playing under Covid-19 conditions has "turned tennis much more into a job".
And it is a job that players above 33 might choose to retire from earlier than they had originally planned, said Mannarino.
Notable men's players in that age range include Rafael Nadal, 34; Roger Federer, 39; Stan Wawrinka, 35; and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, 35.
"Lately, it's been pretty rough to travel on the Tour with all this Covid situation and let's say since last year, it's really not fun," said the Frenchman.
"I don't think that any of the players are really enjoying travelling but... this is our job...
"I know a lot of players who are around 34, 35, 36 years old. And if I would be on their situation, I would think about stopping maybe a little bit earlier...
"This is really complicated for those who have (a) family, like kids at home waiting for them and they will have to travel and being locked down in the room all the time, having no contact with anybody (for) most of the day.
"This is not something I would enjoy. In my situation, I'm still able to travel pretty easily, I got no one, no kids at home... waiting for me...
"I think that definitely some players are going to think about retiring a little bit earlier than what they wanted to, if they see the situation keep on going."
Mannarino, however, is more hopeful about the future of French tennis, flagging 22-year-old world No. 32 Ugo Humbert and 72-ranked Corentin Moutet, 21, as part of "a good generation coming up".
"Hopefully, they're going to play well because lately we're missing some French players in the second week of the Grand Slams," he added. - DILENJIT SINGH