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No rush: Andy Murray believes life must return to some sense of normality before tennis can take off once again

No rush: Andy Murray believes life must return to some sense of normality before tennis can take off once again

Getty Images for LTA

No rush: Andy Murray believes life must return to some sense of normality before tennis can take off once again

Andy Murray does not think getting the professional tennis circuit back up and running should be a priority any time soon.

The men's ATP and women's WTA tours are suspended until July 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic and Murray has previously said he expects the sport to be one of the last ones to resume due to the travel required.

The world's top players are currently restricted to playing tournaments on a computer game, with Murray taking part in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro this week.

It was after a demolition of Rafael Nadal on the PlayStation game that the Scot sounded his warning about a quick return.

"I'm sure all tennis players want to get back to competing and playing as soon as possible," Murray said. "But right now that is not the most important thing.

"First of all, we want to get our normal lives back, just being able to go out, see friends, go to restaurants and have your normal freedoms.

"And then hopefully over time, things will start to allow for travelling and sport will be able to go back to normal. But I don't see that happening very soon.

"The first thing is to try and find a way to stop the virus spreading and once we have done that we will be able to do more normal things that everyone does rather than thinking about competing at sport.

"A lot of people want to watch sport again, the athletes and players would love to be playing. When you don't get to see it for a while maybe people realise how much they love playing it but just because it's difficult not to have sport doesn't mean we have to speed things up.

"Let's just focus on getting our normal lives back first and hopefully then all of the countries can sort out the virus properly.

"I'm obviously no expert on this but I assume the danger is when you try to do things too quickly.

"If we get back to international travel, then maybe there could be a second wave of infections and that would slow everything down again and that's not what anyone wants. Let's just get things back to normal first."

Murray, who would have been unlikely to play the Madrid Open anyway due to an injury problem, must have wished that life will one day imitate art as he gave the king of clay a virtual hammering.

Nadal had suggested during the game that Murray's dominance was down to the Scot having plenty of time to practice over the last couple of years.

But Murray, who also defeated Denis Shapovalov to make it three wins from three in the group stage, retorted: "I haven't played this game until four days ago. Some people just have it and some people don't, and he is just not very good at the game. It was a very comfortable match."

The four-day charity initiative will donate €50,000 (£43,592) to the Madrid Food Bank to help reduce the social impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The winner of each tournament will get €150,000 (about £130,000) from which they will be able to decide how much they donate to their colleagues on the tour who have been worst affected by the suspension of play.

• The Tour de France is in doubt once again after French prime minister Edouard Philippe said there could be no mass sporting events in the country until September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech yesterday during which Philippe announced the 2019-20 football and rugby seasons must be brought to an early close, the country's prime minister did not specifically mention cycling but said that "events that bring together more than 5,000 participants... cannot be held before September".

The Tour is due to start on August 29 in Nice and conclude in Paris on September 20, having been moved from original dates of June 27-July 19. That announcement came a day after French president Emmanuel Macron said there could be no mass gatherings until mid-July.

The Amaury Sports Organisation, which organises the Tour, said it had no comment to make.

Although the latest announcement might leave the door open to the Tour going ahead with reduced crowds, ASO has previously ruled out the idea of attempting to stage the Tour behind closed doors.

Belfast Telegraph