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

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Written by Shahid Judge
| Mumbai |

Updated: November 4, 2020 11:47:06 pm





There was a terror assault in central Vienna on Monday. (Reuters)

The silent monotony of Monday night was damaged by the wailing of police sirens. Indian tennis player Sasikumar Mukund was getting ready dinner at his condo in Vienna, Austria, when a battalion of police automobiles and ambulances sped down his road in direction of the City Centre – Schwedenplatz – barely two kilometres away from his home.

It struck the World No 294 and India’s fourth highest ranked singles player as peculiar, however he didn’t make any sense of it then. All was revealed when his telephone rang a couple of minutes later although. “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 remembers. “Then he told me there was a terrorist attack happening nearby.”

The 23-year-old has been primarily based in Vienna since July 2018 and lives near town centre, the place closely armed gunmen attacked six areas in metropolis sq.. Four folks had been killed and 22 wounded, whereas one suspect was shot lifeless.

The sq. is the guts and soul of town’s social life. And it’s a spot Mukund frequents as nicely. “The Schwedenplatz is the most common place anybody can be in,” he explains. “That’s the place all the large manufacturers are, the large retailers, the cafes, eating places… Everything is there, so everyone is there.

“Normally I go there every weekend too. I was thinking about going there on Monday night as well, but I just felt a bit lazy to step out. And then this happened.”

sasikumar mukund The assault came about only a day after the ATP 500 Vienna Open concluded. (File Photo/Bengaluru Open)

The space was significantly crowded on the night because the Austrian authorities had scheduled one other lockdown that was to start out at midnight, to deal with the Coronavirus pandemic. This is the fifth reported terrorist assault in Europe after – Dresden (in Germany), and three cities in France, Paris, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine and Nice – during the last two months. Vienna is reeling beneath the shock, he stated.

“Nothing like this has happened here before. Vienna is known as being a chilled-out hub, a very calm place in Europe,” Mukund provides. “So when something like this happens, people are obviously very shaken up. And then there has been news that one terrorist (suspect) still hasn’t been caught and is alive and at large somewhere in the city. So there is definitely an element of fear.”

The assault came about only a day after the ATP 500 Vienna Open concluded. And Mukund wasn’t the one particular person from the tennis world to have been near the battle. The 2004 Athens Olympics gold-medallist and present US Open champion Dominic Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu was in the sq. when the assaults came about. He tweeted updates in the course of 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 … thank you for your messages,” learn a translation of his first message.

The Chilean later penned: “Hello everyone … I am already in the hotel calm and well after a Very big scare. We were locked up in the restaurant for 8 hours as a precaution. Thank you again for your messages of concern.”

The Austrian authorities introduced three days of mourning, and locals had been requested to remain indoors on Tuesday. That was the identical order Mukund acquired from his coach as nicely. Practice nevertheless, which takes place on the academy a 10 minute stroll from Mukund’s place, resumed on Wednesday.

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