As tennis inches its way towards a long awaited restart of the two main professional tours in August, a number of exhibition events have taken place to provide players with opportunities to shake off some of the match rust caused by the four month long Coronavirus lockdown.
"I think it's fair to say I've been on the watt bike a little bit more than usual Katie Boulter
In the UK Jamie Murray’s ‘Battle of the Brits’ played at the National Tennis Centre proved a great success with Andy Murray playing his first competitive match since November. The event was subsequently won by Dan Evans who basically underlined his position as the national number one by defeating Kyle Edmund in the final.
In the interim the British Tour series being also held at the NTC in Roehampton, continues entering its third week following Cameron Norrie’s defeat of Paul Jubb yesterday to win the second week’s event with Maia Lumsden winning the women’s event following a tight match with Alicia Dudeney.
Tomorrow though, sees the start of the £30,000 Women’s Progress Tour, again at the NTC and behind closed doors, featuring eight women playing singles and doubles in a round-robin format.
Unfortunately Johanna Konta, Britain’s top female world ranked 14, is absent but the next three, Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Harriet Dart will all be in action.
Also playing are Samantha Murray Sharan, Jodie Burrage, Francesca Jones, Emma Raucanu and Maia Lumsden.
Katie Boulter’s return will be watched with keen interest as she is slowly regaining fitness following last year’s Fed Cup t when she put on a heroic display whilst carrying a bad back problem to help GB secure a well deserved victory.
During the lockdown she shared a flat with Laura Robson who apparently kept her well supplied with homemade cakes!
“Laura’s got really into baking – I’m not sure it’s good for me having to eat cakes every single day of the lockdown!” Boulter told the BBC, while explaining she had originally invited Robson to stay at the flat while she was away at some tournaments. “I think it’s fair to say I’ve been on the watt bike a little bit more than usual.”
Looking ahead to this week’s exhibition, she made some observations having watched the Battle of the Brits’.
“Headsets on court is interesting but would it work on tour?” she wondered. “I thought it was fresh and interesting, some of the stuff they did, and maybe we can bring it on to the tour.
“But some of it is quite hard to do – having the headsets on court is quite interesting but at the same time when you’re really in that match and it’s not an exhibition I’m not sure how you’re going to react to it.”
Meanwhile she will be keen to shake off the cake ballast and pick up the £6000 winner’s cheque.