Former world number one Andy Murray has spoken about the potential for tennis to return to action following the COVID-19 crisis, and suggested the sport may well be one of the last to get fully up to speed following the pandemic.
The tennis season has been suspended since March, with play looking set to remain on hold until mid-July at the earliest. It means players’ careers and earning opportunities remain on hold, with the lower-ranked players particularly hard-hit by the ongoing crisis.
Speaking to CNN, former Wimbledon and Olympic champion Murray said the global nature of the ATP and WTA tours means it’s likely the sport of tennis will be one of the last to return to full action following the pandemic.
“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,” Murray explained.
The 32-year-old Brit has been recovering from hip surgery, and was originally targeting a return to full action at the Miami Open in March, but now faces a longer spell on the sidelines, along with the rest of the tour.
“I would be surprised if they were back playing sport by September-time,” he said.
The French Open’s start date has been pushed back to September 20, while the Wimbledon championships have been canceled. Organizers of the US Open stated last week that hosting the tournament as a behind-closed-doors event is possible, but unlikely.
Murray says the world will need to return to some semblance of normality, with global travel resuming as normal, before the tennis world can get back up to speed again.
“You have to feel like the whole world working normally again and traveling normally before tennis would go back to especially the major competitions,” he said.