Have the ATP set a dangerous precedent a lack of punishment for a “Major Offence” against Covid-19 regulations?

Since the covid-19 pandemic in March the way a proportion of men’s tennis has conducted itself has been nothing short of abysmal.

From the drama’s of the Adria Tour and the players behaviour off-court as well, Tennis in Atlanta, Zverev in Paris, Paire in Hamburg and lastly the flee of Russia by Sam Querrey. It is has been shambolic and embarrassing to watch unfold.

Sports stars are humans and will make mistakes but when you are in the public eye you have a responsibility and they’ve acted no where near responsible.

Sam Querrey’s escape from Russia

Probably one of the worst behaviours I have seen from a player knowing the rules and regulations, breaking them and putting people at risk.

Sam was travelling with his family on the tour and in St. Petersburg was told that he tested positive and by local law must isolate in his hotel for 14 days.

Instead, he and his family fled Russia and got on a plane home putting lives at risk because he didn’t want to follow the rules.

After investigation which by the sounds of it the ATP didn’t do much of they have decided to fine the man who has earned nearly $13 million in prize money just $20,000. The best catch is that he will not pay this fine if he doesn’t commit another covid-19 breach on the tour.

The investigation reviewed the full circumstances surrounding the incident and concluded Mr. Querrey’s conduct to be contrary to the integrity of the game under the Player Major Offense provision in the ATP Code of Conduct. As a result, the ATP has issued a fine of US$20,000.

Taking into consideration Mr. Querrey’s many years of otherwise good standing with the ATP and other mitigating factors, the fine is suspended and will be lifted subject to Mr. Querrey committing no further breaches of health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 within a probationary six-month period. The player has five days to appeal the decision, should he choose to do so.

Oh that’s ok then.. you can break the Player Major Offense provision but if you have a bit good behaviour on your record you get away with it?

Dangerous precedent to set…

Shambolic ruling, when you consider a player sweating or breaking a racket gets a $20,000 fine it doesn’t seem like it has been taken seriously.

This isn’t breaking a racket or swearing at an umpire, this is putting lives at risk and breaking local rules and tennis rules during a global pandemic. Many people have lost lives and jobs and the behaviour of someone in a privilege position has been disgraceful.

Sam has his say…

Sam rightfully had his say and I do have slight sympathy but you sign up to the tour, you play a worldwide sport during a pandemic don’t be selfish.

Two days into isolating Sam had some news from the ATP:

“Hey, you guys are no longer welcome to stay at the hotel. And two doctors are gonna come to your room, one for you and your wife, and a pediatric doctor for your baby. And they’re going to determine whether you are symptomatic or not, and if you’re symptomatic, the three of you are going to a hospital for a minimum of two weeks.”

And I had this on speaker, so my wife starts panicking. I’m obviously not happy about that, because we feel safe in the tournament hotel. Now, we have two random doctors coming? Who are the doctors? I have no idea who they’re with, what hospital they’re with, what’s going on. And I couldn’t get any answers. 

Also, our son is seven months old at the time, and he is teething and has a little fever anyway. And so I didn’t know if the doctors would determine he has a fever, he’s symptomatic. “Are they going take just the baby to a separate hospital from the one that we were going to go to?” And no one answered these questions for me. No one could say, “Oh, you guys will for sure stay together,” or anything like that.

Sam then decided to flee Russia. They contacted a “jet broker” and asked for a private plane from St. Petersburg to London within 9 hours. They left in the early hours of the morning and flew to London where they rented an Air BnB. Sam told Sports Illustrated they paid $40,000 to flee Russia.

In the ATP statement at the top of the page Sam did think it was “harsh wording” and he does emphasise that at no point did he think “COVID, let’s get the hell out of here”

All quotes above in this section courtesy of his interview with Sports Illustrated which you can find below:

Sam Querrey Speaks Out About COVID-19 Experience on ATP Tour

Before this there has been more careless behaviour from male players in various circumstances but the ATP couldn’t act on them below as it was out of ATP competition.

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