Divij Sharan and Vijay Sundar Prashanth had a taste of the new normal as they competed in doubles in a tournament organised by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) in Roehampton.
Interestingly, Divij drove from Manchester with wife Samantha, while Vijay drove from London. "It is so much easier to drive. It took us three-and-a-half hour. Drivng is much safer, as there is no interaction with anyone," said Divij.
Understandably, the duo was rusty and lost the first match, which was played on a short set format, in the super tie-break. Divij and Vijay won the next two matches to finish fifth out of eight teams.
"You play three matches irrespective of your results. All matches on one day," said Divij.
With both the Indian players staying in the UK during lockdown, they had decided to get back to the game with an event. "It was more about getting on court and competing. I haven’t had a chance to play matches in the last four months. First round was pretty rusty, but got better with each match," he said.
Only one set of balls were used in a match. The COVID-19 tests were done on Friday for doubles players, results on Saturday, and matches were played on Sunday.
"They have decided that there is little risk of transmission through balls, but you can’t speak to your partner with the balls in front of your face, to avoid breathing into them," he said.
"Since they were washing the courts after every session, we got limited practice," he said.
At the cafeteria, there was only one chair per table to ensure social distancing. The players tapped racquets instead of handshakes and masks were worn when they were indoors.
The results: Divij Sharan & Vijay Sundar Prashant bt Ben Jones & Joshua Paris 2-4, 4-1, [10-8]; Divij & Vijay bt Jack Gibbens & Isaac Stoute 4-1, 4-1; Charles Broom & David Stevenson bt Divij & Vijay 4-1, 1-4, [10-7].
- WPL 2024: Struggling UP Warriorz eyes comeback against dominant Mumbai Indians
- WPL 2024: Mandhana, Renuka star as RCB beats Gujarat Giants by eight wickets
- Happy we could play to the merit of the ball: Deshpande after scripting history with Kotian in Ranji Trophy quarterfinal
- Shreyas Iyer included in Mumbai squad for Ranji Trophy semifinal
- Ranji Trophy 2023-24 quarterfinals: Kotian, Deshpande script record-breaking feat against Baroda as Mumbai enters semis