The ATP Tour set up a 24/7 mental heath support helpline for players last year; Gilles Simon: “With my heart not being there to travel and play in these conditions, I unfortunately have to take a break in order to preserve myself mentally. Hopefully my morale picks up as soon as possible”
Last Updated: 27/02/21 8:11am
Veteran French tennis player Gilles Simon has said he is taking an indefinite break from the ATP Tour out of concern for his mental health.
Simon, who achieved a career-high singles ranking of No 6 in 2009 but is now ranked No 68, won the last of his 14 titles on the men’s tour in 2018. He reached the Queen’s Club final a year later, but lost out to Feliciano Lopez.
The former Australian Open and Wimbledon quarter-finalist played Andy Murray at the 2015 Davis Cup as Great Britain went on to win their first title since 1936 – and the 36-year-old lifted the same trophy with France two years later.
“With my heart not being there to travel and play in these conditions, I unfortunately have to take a break in order to preserve myself mentally,” Simon wrote on Twitter. “Hopefully my morale picks up as soon as possible.”
He most recently competed at the Open Sud de France in Montpellier, losing to Austrian Dennis Novak in the first round.
Simon also crashed out in the first round of this year’s season-opening major in Melbourne after a 6-1 6-2 6-1 defeat by Stefanos Tsitsipas, who went on to knock out second seed Rafael Nadal.
The ATP Tour set up a 24/7 mental heath support helpline for their players last year after setting up a partnership with Sporting Chance, the charity founded by former Arsenal defender Tony Adams.
Andy Murray has revealed he could not bring himself to watch the Australian Open and unfollowed other players on social media after being forced to miss the event.
The former world No 1 was unable to travel to Australia following an untimely bout of coronavirus and, while the rest of the leading names in the sport were doing battle in Melbourne, he was competing at a lower-level Challenger tournament in Italy.
Murray said: “I didn’t watch any because I wanted to be there myself. It was a struggle, to be honest. I stopped following all the tennis players I follow on social media and stuff because I just didn’t really want to see it.”
The tournament finished with Novak Djokovic winning a ninth title thanks to a straight-sets win over Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final.