On the same day of the Qatar-ITF Men's Tour's quarter-finals last week, Filipino tennis star Francis Casey Alcantara spoke to Thai partner Wishaya Trongcharoenchaikul to convince him to withdraw from the competition.
The 28-year-old former double champion of the Australian Open Juniors had no problem convincing Trongcharoenchaikul. "It turned out that we both wanted to go home so that we wouldn't be locked," said Alcantara.
The pride of Cagayan de Oro made it home before the lock was imposed in Luzon.
And there was a price.
No prize money was awarded. Registration fees have not been reimbursed. And finally, the meeting was scrapped just a few hours after she left.
It was a huge waste of money for someone who needs sponsors to compete abroad.
"This is our life as a professional player, we don't have weekly salaries," said Alcantara, who later jokingly said on his Instagram account that he was "unemployed for the next six weeks".
But Alcantara was one of the lucky few, especially when compared to the plight of the other national team members Jeson Patrombon and Alberto Lim Jr.
Patrombon and Lim, the No. 1 and 2 singles players for the Philippine Davis Cup, have not had a foreign presence in the past three months.
"Their last international tournaments were [Southeast Asian] games in December and then in March they played Davis Cup against Greece with world number 6 [Stefanos Tsitsipas]," he said.
The Philippines finally bowed 4-1 to Greece.
At the moment, Alcantara and the rest of the tennis world are taking a long break.
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