Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou forced to shut academy down during coronavirus crisis
March. 20, 2020
Patrick Mouratoglou, the coach of 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, has been forced to shut down his academy ‘indefinitely’ amid the coronavirus crisis and faced a frantic rush to get young residents back to their respective countries last weekend.
Around 200 student athletes were dashed out of the Mouratoglou Academy in the south of France to 40 different countries – including Italy, England, India, Japan, China, Russia, USA and Gabon- in order to be with their families before the country was placed under lockdown.
An online platform has since been created for students at the academy to access educational and training programmes, with the latter focused on staying fit while in isolation in their various homes.
The academy plans to open at the end of the pandemic, with children returning ‘as if they had never left.’
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‘The unprecedented health crisis affecting the major part of the world led us to take exceptional measures to ensure the safety and health of our tennis-and-school students,’ said Mouratoglou in a statement on Friday.
‘On Friday, March 13, we decided to close down the school indefinitely, in accordance with President Emmanuel Macron ’s action.
‘On Saturday, March 14, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced the closing of all ‘non-essential’ living areas, forcing us to close the boarding house as well as all Mouratoglou Resort services.
‘Since that announcement, our absolute priority has been to organise the student-athletes’ return to their respective homes to anticipate possible containment measures. If this situation lasts weeks and months, which seems very likely, I believe the children belond next to their families.
‘On Monday, March 16, President Macron placed the entire French territory under a lockdown order.
‘I want to give my utmost respect and gratitude to the school staff, the coaching staff, the Academy’s staff and more particularly the boarding school staff and its managers for their dedication and efficiency. They have shown rare reactivity, professionalism and sense of responsibility and have been doing an exceptional job of finding solutions on a daily basis.
‘I also want to thank all the parents for their trust, their goodwill and their support during this period of crisis.
‘All students are now safe at home. Since we don’t know yet how much time this containment situation will last, we implemented distance follow-up to ensure educational and sportive continuity.
‘On the academic side, a video platform was created in record time and will ensure educational continuity, as well as strengthening the link between teachers and students.
‘On the sports side, Frederic Lefebvre, the Academy’s Fitness Director, designed an at-home fitness programme that meets all players’ needs and abilities. This programme will be updated on a regular basis. As for tennis and fitness coaches, they will stay regularly in touch will their players.
‘We’re facing an extreme, unexpected situation and we have responded quickly and responsibly. Our first imperative was to guarantee the safety of our young players, and now it is to ensure the continuity of the academic and sports programmes so that once the situation stabilizes and children return to the academy, it is as if they had never left.’
There will be no competitive tennis until June at the earliest, with the ATP, WTA and ITF suspending all activity.
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