‘Restricting myself to just being home the whole time’
With all sporting events suspended, training centres and national camps shut, what are athletes doing with their forced leisure time? Each day, a top athlete will write about her or his experience of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic for HT.
This is Ankita Raina, India’s highest-ranked women’s tennis player, who returned to her home in Pune last week from Dubai.
It’s really sad that all of us are in this situation and seeing what the world is going through right now with the coronavirus outbreak. I’m back home in Pune after playing the Fed Cup in Dubai (Ankita Raina guided India to a historic Fed Cup World Group play-off spot earlier this month).
There has been a positive case of the virus reported of a person who came back from the US just in the area (Sinhagad Road) next my house. Thus, everyone here is being extra cautious, and so am I because these are scary times.
I was supposed to fly to Australia last Friday for two weeks followed by two weeks in Egypt and then go to Latvia to play the Fed Cup play-offs, but all of that has been cancelled now and rightly so I feel, because health should be above anything else in life. I’m restricting myself to just being home the whole time apart from just an hour or two every day when I go to the court to practice. But even there, we are restricting the number of people to four. It’s just me and Rutuja Bhosale—because we both usually practice together when we are in Pune—and (personal coach) Hemant Bendrey sir and another trainer. We are avoiding any form of public transport; I go in my own car and come back in my own car.
Apart from that daily session on the court, I’m at home the entire time, and there is no other option, really. Most of the restaurants and cafes here are shut, and I’m also making a conscious decision to not venture out apart from going to the courts. I’m not even seeing any of my friends here, because I don’t know who they have met and which areas they have visited.
So on the flipside, it is great to be home for this long. Unfortunately, we can’t do a lot of outdoor activities which I would have loved to do otherwise but I’m looking forward to family time.
And there are a few things that I would like to try my hand at now that I have the free time sitting at home, like cooking, painting and may be learn some form of dance. Who knows, that might also help me in my game!
I actually didn’t have a pre-season for the last two years, so for me it’s good in a way that I’m getting this break. My coaches and trainer couldn’t be happier, because they can now plan a proper training session when things get better here. But of course, health and safety is the most important thing and I will not take any chances with that.
As told to Rutvick Mehta