No audience for Federer

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In Swiss sports circles, it has been a few weeks since the announcements of the Federal Council cause less excitement than those concerning the stabilization package. The season is almost over, already ruined, and a possible return of the public, gradually, from May 26 would arrive like hail after the harvest. Ice hockey will be over, football also (Cup final on Whit Monday May 24). The Tour de Romandie will be over.

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There remained the Gonet Geneva Open tournament, which hoped without really believing it to be able to welcome a few people for the coming-event of Roger Federer at the Parc des Eaux-Vives, from May 15 to 22. For his return to school after more than a year of absence, on March 10 in Doha, Federer had played in front of a stadium filled to the third, which had not happened to him for fifteen years but had been enough to give a little relief, atmosphere and warmth to the match.

Frustrating but simpler

This will not be the case in Geneva, where the stadium will only be accessible to 100 people outside the health center (including referees, media, officials, volunteers). “We reserve these few tickets for our sponsors, in proportion to their investment, since they are the ones who keep the tournament alive”, explains Thierry Grin, the director of the Geneva Open, who wants to make a good fortune against bad luck. “The conditions will be very special but we do not forget that without this particular context Roger Federer would never have come here.”

Paradoxically, the announcement of a gauge of 500 or 1000 spectators would have been a real headache. “There is such a demand to come and see Federer play !, is surprised Thierry Grin. Without limitation, we would try to set up as large a platform as possible. And with 1000 people, we should have imagined a lottery system to allocate tickets fairly. Even there, with zero places on sale, we receive hundreds of inquiries a day. People are finding my cell phone number. I wouldn’t be surprised if some were building a treehouse in the park … “