Nicolas Mahut resumes training in France following the end of the coronavirus lockdown period
"The main risk is injury. So now we've just played for an hour and we already have small strains"
Last Updated: 14/05/20 12:42pm
Veteran Nicolas Mahut has resumed training in France following the end of the coronavirus lockdown period, and admitted it felt like he was "wearing clogs".
Restrictions began on March 17 in France and only came to an end on Monday, with millions back in work after eight weeks of lockdown.
Mahut slugged a few rusty-looking shots over the net at practice partner Gregoire Barrere on an indoor court at the national training centre, located near the grounds of Roland Garros in western Paris.
Both Mahut and Barrere appeared short on fitness, following such a long period off the court.
They were both due to be tested for the coronavirus after their session and were observed by mask-wearing Dr Bernard Montalvan, who works with French sports teams.
"We were lucky to play inside because I wasn't really keen to go back to the clay on a 10 degree temperature day," said Mahut, who was wearing a face mask.
"The main risk is injury. So now we've just played for an hour and we already have small strains. So we need to go slowly and take some pleasure and we will leave real training sessions for later."
Mahut, 38, famously played the longest professional match in tennis history ten years ago at Wimbledon when he spent eleven hours on court in his 70-68 defeat to American John Isner in the deciding fifth set.
"The feeling of the racket is still there, what is more difficult is the service and the legwork. Our legs are heavy, it is like wearing clogs and the ball seems fast," he said.
"It is complicated but at the same time we didn't have much expectation. We just try to have some good sensations, but before seeing the high level we will need to wait a bit."
More than 26,000 people have died from Covid-19 in France since March 1 - one of the highest tolls in Europe.