Privilege to be back on court, says Palermo top seed Martic

Tennis - WTA Premier - Dubai Tennis Championships - Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates - February 21, 2020 Croatia's Petra Martic in action during her semi final match against Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina

Top seed Petra Martic said it would be a privilege to be back on court at the Palermo Ladies Open, which marks the return of the professional tennis season on Monday after shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The world number 15 was relieved the tour, which was suspended in early March, was restarting with the tournament in Italy followed by the Prague Open from Aug. 10.

“It’s been so long without tennis, without competition, without the adrenaline that we all kind of love,” Martic, who faces Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round, told reporters on Saturday.

“So I was really excited to hear that Palermo and Prague will be 100% organised and will go on.

“So I’m just going to try to enjoy myself. To be back on the court right now is really just a privilege without thinking about any results or any goals or focused on numbers or anything else.”

An unidentified player pulled out from the event after testing positive for COVID-19 but the tournament will continue as planned, the governing WTA said on Saturday.

Martic had a stellar 2019 when she reached her first grand slam quarter-final at Roland Garros and finished the season inside the top 20 for the first time in her career.

The 29-year-old Croatian said the shutdown taught her about life beyond tennis.

“I didn’t need to pack, which I hate to do. I didn’t need to fly, which I also hate to do. I could just be.

“It was the first time I could just not be a tennis player and that was a nice change. That’s what’s waiting for all of us one day, so it’s good to kind of feel what it’s going to look like.”

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