On the same day of the Qatar-ITF Men’s Tour doubles quarterfinals last week, Filipino tennis star Francis Casey Alcantara talked to Thai partner Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul to try and convince him to withdraw from the competition.
The 28-year-old former Australian Open juniors doubles champ didn’t have a hard time convincing Trongcharoenchaikul. “Turned out we both wanted to go home so we won’t get caught up with the lockdown,” Alcantara said.
The pride of Cagayan de Oro made it back home before the lockdown was imposed in Luzon.
And it came at a price.
No prize money was awarded. Registration fees were not reimbursed. And ultimately, the meet was scrapped just within hours after they withdrew.
For somebody who depends on sponsors to compete abroad, it was a big waste of money.
“That’s our life as professional players, we don’t have weekly salaries,” said Alcantara, who later on his Instagram account half-jokingly said he’s “unemployed for the next six weeks.”
But Alcantara counted himself as one of the few lucky ones, especially when compared to the plight of fellow national team members Jeson Patrombon and Alberto Lim Jr.
Patrombon and Lim, the Nos. 1 and 2 players in singles for the Philippine Davis Cup, didn’t have any foreign exposure for the past three months.
“Their last international tournaments was [Southeast Asian] Games in December and then March they played Davis Cup against Greece with World No. 6 [Stefanos Tsitsipas],” he said.
The Philippines eventually bowed to Greece, 4-1, in the tie.
For now, Alcantara and the rest of the tennis world are in for a long break.
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