Seven-time Grand Slam doubles winner Jamie Murray is not expecting the professional tennis tours to resume any time soon.
The men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours are suspended until July 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the nature of the sport, with mass travel between countries and cities from one week to the next, is not conducive to a quick return in the current climate.
Murray has described a possible return to tour life as “far away” and talked down the impact of playing behind closed doors.
“I honestly have no idea what is going to happen with that,” the Scot told the PA news agency.
“As a professional tournament, you have players, coaches, physios travelling from all over the world to be there.
“You have got fans flying from all over the world to watch these events, it is a lot of people descending on a city for a week and then moving on to another city. That comes with a lot of difficulties in the current climate.
“It is difficult because at a regular ATP event you have got a 32 draw singles a 16 draw doubles, that is probably 50-60 players plus their support staff on site for the tournament, that is still a lot of people in a small space.
“There is a lot of liability for tournament organisers. There are issues with that, if someone comes to your event and they contract the virus that is not going to work out too well I don’t think.
“It is going to be difficult, even behind closed doors, it is not what players want, it is not fun to compete like that.
“We will just have to see what happens with that. With or without fans I still think it is very difficult to get all the protocols and set-ups in place in order to host a big event.
“With regards playing on the professional tennis with fans in packed out stadiums I really think that is far away.”
In theory, players should at least be able to practise fairly soon, providing they conform to social distancing measures in and around the court.
That is the first thing that Murray is looking for.
“For me the most important thing is to get back out and practise to maintain our skills,” he added. “From that point, tennis is one of the first sports that elite athletes can get back into because there is natural distance between the players.
“I am hoping that tennis gets the green light to get back on to court soon.”
The suspension of the professional game has left Murray in an unusual position of weeks on end at home instead of moving from hotel to hotel.
He has stayed active by hosting fitness sessions on social media and is part of Sport England’s Join The Movement campaign, focused on getting people to work out at home during the current lockdown.
“A lot of stuff I have been posting people can do at home,” he said.
“The workouts is just bodyweight only, it doesn’t require much space or minimal equipment. You can get creative, you don’t need fancy equipment.
“If you don’t have dumbbells you can swap them in for bottles of milk or water. It is just trying to show people different ways to stay active during the lockdown.
“It’s easy to vegetate on the sofa and watch TV, especially if you don’t have access to equipment. It is important to set yourself goals.”
Jamie Murray is partnering with Sport England to encourage the nation to #StayInWorkOut for the benefit of their mental and physical health. To find ways you can get active during lockdown and to Join The Movement visit stayinworkout.org.
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