HAMONT-ACHEL, Belgium - World No.23 Elise Mertens has revealed how she is coping with life under lockdown in an interview with Sky Sports' Raz Mirza.
"Sometimes when I'm on the tour I say 'I want to go home,' but now that I'm here I just want to travel again," the 24-year-old admitted. "It feels pretty strange not playing because it's never happened to me before. I mostly take a minimum break of two weeks before starting over again."
Belgium has been under lockdown since 18 March, and Mertens has been sequestered at her family's home in Hamont-Achel. "Usually, I look out to a busy street but it's very quiet now," she said. "You don't see a lot of cars on the street here in my hometown. There are a few people walking around but it's pretty quiet."
Like many of her peers, Mertens has been forced to adapt her training to quarantine conditions - though she has been lucky enough not to need drastic alterations to her routine. "I'm just trying to do some fitness work to keep me busy," she explained. "I have a gym at home which helps so I work on my speed, agility, power training and endurance training so I can do everything."
When it comes to hitting the ball, though, without access to a court Mertens has rediscovered the joys of testing herself against the same wall she used as a schoolgirl.
The decision this month to cancel Wimbledon was a blow for Mertens, whose maiden run to the fourth round at last year's edition of The Championships completed her set of second-week showings at each of the Grand Slams. "Missing out on Wimbledon is another big shock because it's already three months without tennis and that would be four months so we don't know how long it's going to take to restart," she said. "We can't do anything about it but hopefully everybody stays at home."
Nonetheless, Mertens was also quick to emphasize that in the greater scheme of things, the COVID-19 pandemic is much bigger than tennis. "What's happening in the world is more important than just a sports game," she said. "When you listen to the news it's all about one thing, but of course it's a really big deal and hopefully we can find a solution soon."