Sixteen-year-old tennis player Hugo Cochlin has been describing how the coronavirus lockdown is affecting his game.
Before the outbreak of the virus Hugo was on a streak of 24 wins and only two losses. He came runner-up in the under-16s winter national grade two in Nottingham, made the semi-finals of the grade one Winter National Finals in Roehampton and won two grade threes in a row.
Grade one is for Britain’s top tennis players and grade six is for local players who play for fun. The tournament grade also provides an indication of the standard of players. Here is the definition of grades in tennis competitions given by the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA):
Grade 1 – National Level
Grade 2 – National Level
Grade 3 – Regional Level
Grade 4 – County Level
Grade 5 – Local Level
Grade 6 – Local Level
Grade 7 – Internal club competitions
Grade U – (ungraded) assessment-free competitions where results have been loaded
“It’s taken a lot of work to get my game to the level it’s at and I’m nervous that so much time off court will undo all the hard work I’ve put in,” he said.
For many athletes around the UK, training and competing have come to a halt. Sporting facilities are no longer accessible and for some sports this can be detrimental to players’ games.
“It’s sad because I was able to potentially play Wimbledon this year”
Some of the world’s major sporting events such as the Olympics, Premier League, Wimbledon and many more have been postponed.
Wimbledon, tennis’s most prestigious tournament of the year, was cancelled on April 1 2020 for the first time since 1945. For any tennis player Wimbledon is a lifelong goal which Hugo could have achieved before the virus.
“It’s sad because I was able to potentially play Wimbledon this year but sadly that’s now been cancelled.”
The uncertainty of lockdown means that a lot of athletes do not know when they will be able to return to sport and this has encouraged Hugo to travel to Sweden to train. He will attend the Good to Great tennis academy while the UK is in lockdown.
“Tennis is a sport you have to play every day because you can lose your rhythm quite fast. Already having so much time off due to the lockdown has resulted in me making the decision to move my training to Sweden, where they have no lockdown.”
Hugo recognises that travel to Sweden is not “essential travel”. However the UK government is still permitting flights to a variety of countries.
Here are updates on competitions across the ATP and WTA.
- The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said 900 tournaments across all its circuits have been postponed and that it was furloughing half its staff.
- ITF’s revamped Fed Cup finals was one of the high profile events postponed.
- The 2020 Wimbledon tennis championships have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the All England Club announced on April 1.
- It was the first time the championships, due to take place from June 28 to July 11, have been called off since World War II.
- The professional tennis circuit – men’s and women’s – have been suspended until June 7, with all clay-court tournaments in Europe cancelled. ATP and WTA rankings have been frozen until further notice.
Sixteen-year-old tennis player Hugo Cochlin is finding life difficult not being able to play his beloved sport.