Before the health crisis hit there were goals and aspirations that every player had expected accomplish. Taylor Townsend says "It's pretty weird actually at first...now I'm just trying to find other things to do...reading a book, painting...trying a lot of other things outside of my comfort zone..."
The WTA's 73rd ranked player sat down to discuss her situation dealing with the long, long unwanted tennis break with Tennis.com podcast hosts Nina Pantic and Irina Falconi. But her experiences are mirrored with even the top ranked players and it's a rest on the body but not really on the mind in going through the hiatus.
Last year she made it through to the 4th round of the U.S. Open and this year captured her first WTA title in doubles at Auckland with Asia Muhammad. She had also made it with a crown at the Oracle Challenger in doubles also with Muhammad.
But times are getting tougher despite the virtual workouts with her coach and trainer while not being able to get back on court in competition. Falconi, one of the podcast's host gave Townsend some consolation saying that "You've just got to see it as a positive time to do so many different things..."
Townsend agreed and added "I bought a keyboard and 8 puzzles." But in seeing the realization of the times, when Falconi's coach encouraged her to do some hitting, her reply was "Go out there and hit...for what? It's another three months before we're ever going to get on court..."
The matter of just doing something in place of tennis is difficult and while many players may take up watching what used to be their favorite television programs, Townsend laughs the idea off and says "There's just so much TV I can watch!" She admits that being out of the house and traveling is more of her usual schedule, but the tournaments have been faling one by one like dominos, as she comments that "..it's getting harder to keep things in perspective."
Besides from trying nearly anything to keep busy when tennis isn't an option, she's taking a chance at 'TikTok', a Chinese video-sharing social network used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy and talent videos.
A medium best used by teens, Townsend called on comrade Coco Gauff because she laughingly says that "I called Coco because she's like an OG Tik Tokker...I don't even know how to really work the app and I would need someone younger on showing me how to properly work it..."
Players have no choice but discover and re-experience hobbies to keep themselves busy but the spirit of getting back on court soon is slowly dissipating. Patrick McEnroe, a former player, now tennis commentator had mentioned in the tennisworldusa media that "Oh, I think it (U.S.
Open) definitely might be cancelled..." He emphasized that professional tennis has the one issue of being an international sport. It's not that only one city, state or country has to be clear of health issues but the world.
New York City has gotten hit hard by the pandemic and if it's not cleared up in time, there will be no last slam of the season. Simona Halep the WTA's 3rd ranked player said that "the worst scenario in my head is that this year will be cancelled...I had never had such a feeling, so I don't know what to expect."
No one can predict when the virus outbreak will be over, but all they know is it will be a huge undertaking to be ready instantly to perform on a superior competitive level when the time comes.