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GUARDIAN TENNIS: Men’s and women’s tennis tours form unlikely alliance amid Covid-19 chaos | Tumaini Carayol

GUARDIAN TENNIS: Men’s and women’s tennis tours form unlikely alliance amid Covid-19 chaos | Tumaini Carayol

The French Open’s decision to move to September has forced the various governing bodies to unite for a coordinated response and has reaffirmed the need for closer cooperation

For the past three weeks of isolation, Stan Wawrinka and Benoît Paire have spent much of their idle time talking on Instagram. They invariably log in with a glass in hand, giggling and trading stories as they drink together and entertain their followers. Wawrinka of Switzerland is much more famous and the superior tennis player, but in this setting Paire, a bearded six feet five inches of sheer eccentricity, is the focal point. During their latest conversation, a fan asked whether they had ever had sex within an hour of a match. As an amused Wawrinka sipped and revealed nothing, Paire shrugged and said: “Yes. It never bothered me.”

In some ways, Paire, a Frenchman currently ranked 22nd, is a reflection of the disruptive, entertaining role that France plays in tennis. As with most male French tennis players, his game is a volatile marriage of flamboyance and self-destruction. Paire is as likely to scythe an opponent to pieces with a million perfect drop shots as he is to be booed off the court at home by his own supporters after another trademark meltdown. Between Paire, Gaël Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, French players are agents of chaos on the court.

Related: Missing live sport during lockdown? Here are 12 sporting films to watch

Related: Tim Henman insists Andy Murray can still play on at Wimbledon

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Mon, 13 Apr 2020 13:31:04 GMT

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GUARDIAN TENNIS: Little Englandism after Brexit could endanger sport’s prowess and appeal | Sean Ingle

GUARDIAN TENNIS: Little Englandism after Brexit could endanger sport’s prowess and appeal | Sean Ingle

Elite level athletes and organisations have benefited from unfettered access to Europe; few are fully prepared for the ramifications of whatever happens on 29 March

It was during the death throes of the British empire that the penultimate high commissioner of Aden, Richard Turnbull, forecast: “When it finally sinks beneath the waves of history it will leave behind only two monuments: one is the game of association football, the other the expression ‘fuck off’.” How some Brexiters relish lobbing that expletive at the European Union, despite the pernicious risks to the national game and the rest of British sport.

Privately, some inside the Olympic and Paralympic system fear Brexit will make it harder to attract the best coaching talent. Others also warn that if sterling plummets further it will eat into budgets for training camps and Tokyo 2020 qualifying events. And if the economy tanks and government funding for elite sport gets a buzzcut, do not expect Team GB to finish second in the Olympic Games medal table again.

Related: Sunderland ’Til I Die, and the plight of the merely-very-good football player | Andrew Anthony

Twitter: follow us at @guardian_sport

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Mon, 11 Feb 2019 11:00:06 GMT

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