Months ago, when it was still uncertain whether the tennis circuit would resume in 2020, Greek player Maria Sakkari had already set her sights on a competition. Albeit, in a different sport.
The world no 20 in women’s singles had considered taking up sprinting, and even thought of competing at the Greek National Athletics Championships, just to keep her fit in the event of the tour being called off this year.
“If the Tour was cancelled, I was going to compete in the 100m track and field event at the National Championships,” the 25-year-old said during a press conference ahead of her first round match at the Palermo Open.
“There were rumours going around that the Tour would get cancelled so I thought if the Tour gets cancelled I need to find something. I’m fast, I knew I was not going to win it for sure because I’m not a professional. But yeah, I was thinking of doing that.
“The Greece National Championships starts on August 8. We were kind of joking with my fitness coach, but inside of me I really needed competition.”
Sakkari, the third seed, will play her first match against Kristyna Pliskova in a tournament that marks the resumption of the tennis tour since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March.
Her 100m personal best, though measured without the use of spikes or a starting block is 12.7 seconds – the Greek national record is 10.7 seconds.