NEW DELHI: Divij Sharan had been playing tournaments every week since the start of the year until the first week of March. His last on the ATP tour was more than a month ago and his last match overall was in India's Davis Cup tie against Croatia in the first week of March. Soon after that, the world came to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has been in Manchester since with fellow tennis player Samantha Murray.
"No one would have anticipated a situation like this a few months back," Sharan told IANS. The 34-year-old said that he was initially happy with the unexpected break but it is different now as there is no certainty on when tournaments would resume.
"I had been playing tournaments every week from the start of the year till the Davis Cup tie in Croatia so it was a pleasant surprise when the ATP cancelled tournaments for a few weeks. I thought it would be a good time to take a small break, catch up with the family and get back to playing tournaments on the clay.
"Unfortunately the tour got further suspended till June and now we are looking at maybe even the grass court season getting cancelled. No one really knows when we'll get back to playing tournaments."
Sharan however said that he understood the urgency of the situation. "Almost all the countries have gone under lockdown. All of us should do our bit in following the guidelines of the government. It's a team effort. Someone's carelessness can not only affect the other people but substantially delay recovery from this pandemic," he said.
With lockdowns and restrictions in place on movement of people in most countries around the world, all tennis players are somewhat in the same boat as far as match practice is concerned. Sharan said that while he cannot practice or even go to a gym, there is a workout routine that he follows at home.
"I have access to an exercise bike. I do a lot of functional exercises with the help of bands, TRX, med ball and Swiss ball. I also do yoga everyday. All these activities can easily be done in limited space at home," he said.
"This situation has also given me a chance to spend some time with my wife. We've barely been together since our wedding last year.
"It will be interesting to see how the players come out of this long break. The key will be to try to keep fit and motivated as there are no tournaments to prepare for in the near future."
Sharan said that there will be financial ramifications for many players on the tour, as is the case for people from all walks of life in the economic downturn that can come with the spread of the pandemic.
"There are financial ramifications for not just us tennis players but for people from all walks of life. Everybody is affected," he said.
"As tennis players most of our earnings go towards managing our coaching and travel expenses. I know not playing tournaments affects our income but our expenses have also considerably gone down. Having said that, the career span of a sportsperson is short and a long break from the tour could prove to be detrimental.
"I have been a part of Indian Oil for over ten years now. Their support feels even more valuable in such times."