AND to think recovering from a hand injury was the only thing troubling Maia Lumsden as she looked ahead to what lay in store for her in 2020.

It has turned out instead to be an eventful six months for Scotland’s number one tennis player, and not just because of Covid-19 and the global lockdown.

Injury gave way to illness at the start of the year, with the 22 year-old barely able to leave the house during January and February due to the debilitating effect of mumps, a virus and then post-virus fatigue. By the time she had regained her strength, the pandemic was starting to take its grip on the planet, delaying any possibility of a quick on-court comeback.

Little wonder that she doesn’t look back on the first half of this tumultuous year with any huge fondness.

“After time out with the injury, at the start of the year I had just been looking to improve my ranking to get into the grand slam qualifiers which is usually for the top 200 in the world,” said the Bearsden-based player who reached a career high of 250 in October.

“That had been my main aim for this year, to try to get into the grand slams. And then I got ill for a while. It started off with mumps and then I had another virus. And then I had post-viral fatigue.

“I was stuck in the house for January and February and was just starting to get out again when lockdown happened. I had been aiming initially to be back in April or May as I had lost all my fitness. So lockdown at least gave me the chance to work on that by running, doing weights and watt bike sessions. I’ve made a good recovery and I’m ready to get back out there again.”

The second half of the year is at least looking more promising. Lumsden is set to return to action on July 10 in a closed doors event at the National Tennis Centre in London, with a Battle of the Brits style tournament for the leading female players to follow.

“Ever since the courts opened a few weeks ago it’s been good to get back practising again,” added the University of Stirling student.

“I’ve got the British national tournaments coming up in London so I’m just preparing for those. I’m starting on July 10 because Scotland was a few weeks behind England in opening up again so I want to give myself an extra week’s practise. After that there’s a Progress tour top eight event starting on July 14 which is the women’s equivalent of the Battle of the Brits.

“It’s going to be really different from when I last played. Even before lockdown I was out for a while with the injury and illness so I’ve not played in a tournament since September. The first tournaments back will just be me getting into the way of it again. I’m just glad that I’m going to be finally able to compete again.”

Beyond that there is the possibility of a return to the tour but she will proceed with caution as the world starts to open up again.

“There’s some talk about international tennis returning in August but I’m not 100 percent sure if it will happen or not,” she added. “We just need to wait and see.

“I guess a lot will depend on whether the US Open goes ahead. If it does they might then want to restart the whole tour.

“At that point I’d have a decision to make. Tennis usually involves a lot of travelling but I probably wouldn’t want to go too far away for now.”

The disaster that was Novak Djokovic’s Adria tour – when a number of players contracted the coronavirus due to no social distancing measures at tournaments in Serbia and Croatia – has highlighted the need for stricter guidelines if tennis tours are to return.  

“There were a lot of strict rules for the guys competing at the Battle of the Brits and I think it will be the same for us. It was weird seeing Andy pick up his own tennis balls! He’s probably never had to do that before. Or at least not for about 20 years.

“It will be different for us but it’s obviously needed, especially when we saw what happened with Djokovic. Most of the exhibition tournaments seem to be sticking to the rules but the Djokovic one was totally different. It was crazy seeing the big crowds. I was so surprised that that was allowed.

“We’ll need to go through lots of steps and do testing and the rest. But I’m happy to do all that if it lets us compete again.”