Tennis player Sasikumar Mukund goes through the night of anxiety in terror-hit Vienna
The 23-year-old Sasikumar Mukund, who is India’s fourth highest-ranked singles player and world No 294, since July 2018 has been based in Vienna and lives near the city centre, where earlier this week heavily armed shooters attacked six locations.
The wailing broke the silent monotony of Monday night of police sirens. At his apartment in Vienna, Austria, Indian tennis player Sasikumar Mukund was preparing dinner when a battalion of ambulances and police vehicles sped down his street towards the City Centre – Schwedenplatz – only two kilometres away from his house.
Even though he didn’t make any sense of it then, it struck India’s fourth highest-ranked singles player as peculiar. However, all was revealed when his phone rang some minutes later.
“Martin Spoettl, my coach, called me and said: “Lock all the windows and doors and just stay at home. Don’t leave till I tell you. “Then he told me there was a terrorist attack happening around”.”
The 23-year-old Hindu has been in Vienna since July 2018 and lives near the city centre, where armed militants attacked six places in the city square. Four people were killed and 22 injured, and one suspect was shot dead.
The square is the soul and heart of the social life of the city. And this is a place that is often visited by Mukund.
“Schwedenplatz Square is the most commonplace in which anyone can be. There are all large brands, large shops, cafes, restaurants… Everything is there, so everyone is there.”
“I usually go there every weekend. I was thinking about going there on Monday night too, but I just had some laziness to get out. And then it happened.”
At night, the area was particularly crowded, with the Austrian Government planning another lockdown to begin at midnight. It was done to prevent the coronavirus pandemic. This contract is already the fifth in Europe after Dresden (in Germany) and three cities in France, Paris, Conflans-Saint-Onorin and Nice – over the past two months. According to him, Vienna is now experiencing a strong shock.
“Nothing like this has happened here before. Vienna is known as a centre of calm. So when something like this happens, people are obviously very shocked. And then the news appeared that one terrorist (suspect) has not yet been caught and is alive and free somewhere in the city.”
The attack occurred just a day after the completion of the Vienna Open ATP 500. And Mukund was not the only person from the tennis world who was close to the conflict. The gold medallist of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and the current champion of the US Open Nicholas Massu, coach of Dominic Thiem, was on the square where the attacks took place. During the shootout, he tweeted.
“Hello, people. I’m in downtown Vienna very close to the scene of the attack, and they’re keeping us in a restaurant waiting for us to see when we can get out of here… thanks for your messages,”read the translation of his first message.
The Chilean later wrote:
“Hello everyone. I am already at the hotel, and I feel calm after considerable fear. We were locked in a restaurant for 8 hours as a precaution. Thanks again for your messages.”
The Austrian government declared three days of mourning, and on Tuesday residents were invited to stay indoors. Mukund received the same order from his coach. However, the training, which takes place at the academy a 10-minute walk from Mukund, resumed on Wednesday.