The Italian Tennis Federation as confirmed Andy Murray has decided to open his 2021 season at a Challenger event Biella during the second week of the Australian Open having failed to reach a ‘workable quarantine’ following a positive COVID-19 test on January 14 to allow him at the first major of the season in Melbourne.
Whilst clubs are still shut, I thought it would be useful to put together some of my tips on how to stay tennis ready for when we can all get back on court Andy Murray
It will be the 33-year-old Scot’s first appearance at a challenger event since competing in Mallorca back in August 2019 when he was making his first tentative steps back following hip surgery.
The event will start on February 15 and the three-time grand slam champion, currently ranked 123, will be competing in a field which also includes world No.54 Alejandro Davidovich who was also barred form Melbourne having tested positive for Covid-19, Lucas Pouille, Sebastian Korda, Andreas Seppi and Lorenzo Musetti.
The prize money on offer is 132,000 Euros.
In the meantime Murray has used his time usefully by offering advice to club and recreational players on how to staf fit during lockdown.
In a blog on trrnutrition.com, Murray wrote: “The last 12 months have been tough for tennis players. Courts have been closed, then opened, then closed again.
“Club tournaments and social events have been cancelled, junior tennis has been scaled back and there hasn’t been much professional tennis to watch either.
“Whilst clubs are still shut, I thought it would be useful to put together some of my tips on how to stay tennis ready for when we can all get back on court.”
Murray cited general fitness as the most important cornerstone, while tennis-specific exercises he recommends include catching a ball thrown against a wall, knocking down targets and a footwork drill involving moving around two tennis balls in a figure of eight.
“Maintaining your upper body strength is something else you can do from home,” said Murray. “If you don’t have weights you can use your own bodyweight for press-ups or tricep dips.
“Burpees are good too if you are feeling energetic. If you want to add some weights into your routine, you can use litre bottles of water or baked bean cans.”
Lastly, Murray stressed the importance of flexibility, adding: “There are plenty of different classes online or you can just incorporate some simple stretches into your day like touching your toes, lunges and chin tucks.
“Good luck, stay fit and hopefully see you back on court soon.”