Coronavirus: Neal Skupski explains what life is like without tennis in the midst of the pandemic

Neal Skupski was used to life on the road as a professional tennis player, but now he’s getting used to life at home following the coronavirus pandemic.

Neal, brother of Ken Skupski, made his name at the Davis Cup in Madrid playing alongside Jamie Murray as Great Britain reached the semi-finals of the revamped competition.

The last tournament he played in came at the end of February in Dubai. He has since been unable to compete due to the lockdown of the tennis season up until June 8.

But the enforced hiatus will not stop players like Skupski working as hard as they can ahead of the hopeful resumption.

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Most of the tennis fraternity have been on social media working out at home, and Skupski has been doing the same in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“I’m exercising at home and a lot depends of what you’ve got available to you,” the 30-year-old told Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza. “I’ve mainly been doing some body weights, push-ups, and trying to find weights around the house to use.

“I know the LTA have been doing a good job at sorting out equipment to be sent to our houses. They’re providing bikes, weights and TRX’s, so they’re great.

“The gym here in Louisiana closed about a week ago so I haven’t lost that much sharpness, but if this pandemic goes on for a while then your body is not going to be as strong. As long as you maintain your body weights, doing your shoulders and elbows to prevent injury then that should be enough.

“At the same time you’re wondering when you will be next on the court and that’s the tough thing because you have to mentally prepare for something that could be pushed back even further. Let’s hope that we see the end of the coronavirus quickly.”

Skupski has been preparing to play in Indian Wells alongside Jamie Murray when he was told that the Masters 1000 tournament had been cancelled.

He said: “I was all set to go to Indian Wells. I was all packed and was planning on leaving in the morning when I received a phone call from Jamie. He told me Indian Wells had been cancelled and then it all went off. It’s been pretty frustrating, but it is what it is. It seems like it’s a very serious virus so the health of everyone is much more important. Let’s just hope things can get back to normal pretty quick.”

Would love to see the @SkupskiBros have a go at this as well? #BattleOfTheBros

Liverpudlian Skupski stays in contact with his British team-mates on a daily basis with some of them still practising at the NTC (National Tennis Centre) albeit on a limited basis.

With no play until June, Skupski expects to undergo another pre-season in which he would play three or four times a week outdoors in an attempt to regain his fitness.

The residents of Baton Rouge have not been asked to self-isolate as yet so Skupski has been determined to do as much activity as he can before being told to stay at home with his fiancé, Cambri Prevost.

The announcement came pretty much out of the blue because none of the players were told about it.

Skupski on the French Open moving to September

The French Open has been another bone of contention following an apparently-unilateral announcement on Tuesday that it was moving the year’s second Grand Slam from its traditional May-June slot to begin on September 20 because of the pandemic.

As well as being a week after the conclusion of the US Open, the new dates clash with a number of WTA and ATP tournaments as well as the Laver Cup.

“The announcement came pretty much out of the blue because none of the players were told about it. It seems to me that the ATP, WTA and the other Grand Slams didn’t know anything about it,” added Skupski.

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