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Not bad for French tennis players back to training |

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PARIS (AP) Nicolas Mahut has already spent three days on the court in the longest match in tennis history, but even a light one-hour training session proved difficult for him on Wednesday.

This is because he was returning to practice after several weeks spent at home in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The lockout that began on March 17 in France ended on Monday, carefully releasing Mahut and other professionals on the ground.

Mahut exchanged shots of varying speed and precision with his training partner Grgoire Barrre.

It feels good to start playing tennis again. Everyone had missed it; the players, the coaches, “said Mahut after the session, which was held at a training center near the grounds of the French Open at Roland Garros.

The big risk is getting injured, “said Mahut. We played quietly for an hour and there are already a few pains.”

For Mahut and many other athletes, this was a layoff like no other.

“What is different is that it is not even like an injury. Everyone was injured and was away from the circuit for five, six months. But it was a different feeling,” he said. -he declares. “We were not on vacation far from it for all those who were confined and we were not injured. It was a really complex situation to manage.

What was also strange were the many new mandatory measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as not sitting in a chair, using balls different from your opponent’s and sliding on gloves to wipe the bead of the net with disinfectant after the session. .

I hope we can get back to normal training conditions quickly, “said Mahut. But you have to follow the rules. We’ve already had a chance to resume the game.

Mahut, 38, has won major doubles tournaments, but is probably best known for having lost atrociously against John Isner 70-68 in the fifth set at Wimbledon in 2010, the longest game in history.

They played for 11 hours and 5 minutes in a match with 168 consecutive service catches and 216 aces combined.

But even getting an ace against Barrre was a struggle.

You don’t lose the sensation with the racket, or very little, “said Mahut. What is really difficult, your feet are heavy. You have to wait a bit before reaching the highest level again.

He hopes it will be at Roland Garros, a few hundred meters in the west of Paris. The clay tournament was to start on May 24 then was postponed to September 20 due to the virus.

My optimistic side tells me that we will be playing Roland-Garros, “said Mahut. But my more realistic side tells me that it could be a very complicated season (with) no game at all.”

There has been a myriad of opinions about resuming tennis, even without fans.

What is certain is that we cannot start playing again if there is a risk of contamination, “said Mahut.” Is fanless play an option? I really do not know. I do not think this is the right time to enter into a debate on who is right and wrong.

Wearing a blue mask, Dr. Bernard Montalvan supervised Mahut and Barrre.

It helps bring French tennis players back to training, Mahut and Barrre should be tested shortly for the virus.

But Montalvan thinks that tennis may have to wait for a vaccine before returning to normal.

I can’t say when the vaccine will be ready, probably not for a long time, “he said. Well, see what the guidelines are, but I imagine professional tennis will resume before a vaccine is validated .

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