Tennis player Sasikumar Mukund relives night of anxiety in terror-hit Vienna

The 23-year-old Sasikumar Mukund, World No 294 and India’s fourth highest-ranked singles player, has been based in Vienna since July 2018 and lives close to the city centre, where heavily armed gunmen attacked six locations earlier this week.

Sasikumar Mukund was preparing dinner at his apartment in Vienna, Austria, when a battalion of police vehicles and ambulances sped down his street towards the City Centre – Schwedenplatz – barely two kilometres away from his house.

All was revealed when his coach called him up later. “My coach (Martin Spoettl) called me and said ‘lock all the doors and windows and just stay at home. Don’t leave at all till I tell you,’” Mukund recalls. “Then he told me there was a terrorist attack happening nearby.”

                                                Sashi Kumar Mukund (image source: The Indian Express)

The area was particularly crowded on the night as the Austrian government had scheduled another lockdown that was to start at midnight, to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic. This is the fifth reported terrorist attack in Europe.

The attack took place just a day after the ATP 500 Vienna Open concluded. And Mukund wasn’t the only individual from the tennis world to have been close to the conflict. Dominic Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu was in the square when the attacks took place. He tweeted updates during the firefight. “Hello people, I am in the Center of Vienna very close to the attack and they have us inside a Restaurant waiting until we see when we can leave here … thanks for your messages,” read the translated tweet.

The Austrian government announced three days of mourning, and locals were asked to stay indoors on Tuesday. That was the same order Mukund got from his coach as well. Practice, however, which takes place at the academy a 10-minute walk from Mukund’s place, resumed on Wednesday.

 

Source: The Indian Express

Edited by: Manvika Adlakha