Andy Murray back on court as tennis slowly cranks back into life, but Tim Henman predicts tough transition
Andy Murray has returned to the practice courts for the first time since the Covid-19 shutdown, as he joined his coach Jamie Delgado and brother Jamie Murray for a hit on the day he toasted his 33rd birthday.
The trio took an image at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre as they made there first tentative steps back on court after what has been a relatively high profile few weeks for the Murray brothers.
The pair have taken part in Instagram live sessions, podcasts, YouTube videos and charity events, while also keeping their fans regularly updated on their progress.
Now they will be hoping their practice session is the prelude to a return to competitive action, with tennis making some attempts to restart around the world in recent days.
German player Dustin Brown has been a high-profile participant in behind-closed-doors matches in his homeland and exhibition events are starting up around the world, as the ATP and WTA Tours remain suspended until mid-July at the earliest.
“I would imagine tennis would be one of the last sports to get back to normality because you’ve obviously got players and coaches and teams coming from all over the world into one area,” sated Murray last month. “I would be surprised if they were back playing sport by September-time.
“You have to feel like the whole world is working normally again and travelling normally before tennis would go back, especially the major competitions.
“If you took the French Open, let’s say things in Europe have improved, but there are certain countries that might still have issues.
“If you then have a tournament where people or players from a certain continent or countries are not allowed to come in to compete. I think the tournament loses.”
Good 1st social distancing tennis practice!!! Oh yeh and happy birthday @andy_murray 🎂🎂 pic.twitter.com/oEF5d91U9v
— jamie delgado (@DelgadoJamie) May 15, 2020
Meanwhile, Tim Henman has told Tennis365 that he fears most of the tennis calendar for 2020 will be cancelled.
“It is going to be unbelievable challenging for sport in general,” the former British No.1 told us. “The impact on the ATP and WTA Tours to the players down the ranking list is going to be incredibly difficult. They are all self-employed and have no income. It’s going to be an incredibly challenging time, both in the short and long term.“
“I’m an optimist at heart and I am very keen for there to be tennis wherever and whenever possible later this year and as a huge sports fan, I’m missing it. There are only a certain amount of Ryder Cup re-runs I can watch. Without sport, there is a huge void that can hopefully be filled in the near future.”
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