Petra Martic is not concerned with results or points this week at the Palermo Ladies Open, the first WTA event since the tour was forced to shut down on March 8th. The World No.15 is the top seed in Palermo and is set to open her tournament against Belgium's Alison Van Uytvanck.
"It’s been so long without tennis, without competition, without the adrenaline that we all kind of love," Martic told reporters at All Access Hour. "So I was really excited to hear that Palermo and Prague will be 100 percent organized and will go on.
"So I’m just going to try to enjoy myself. To be back on the court right now is really just a privilege without thinking about any results or any goals or focused on numbers or anything else."
The 29-year-old Croatian is coming off a career-best season in 2019, having made the Round of 16 or better at three majors, reaching her first Slam quarterfinal at Roland Garros, and finishing the season ranked inside the Top 20 for the first time in her career. Earlier in the spring she posted a strong semifinal run at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, a strong indication that there was more in store for the veteran. Then came the shutdown.
"It didn’t suck for me, I didn’t find it hard at all to be honest," Martic said. "Of course it was a big adjustment we all had to face whether you like it or not, but overall I cooked a lot. I didn’t need to pack, which I hate to do. I didn’t need to fly, which I also hate to do. I could just be.
"It was the first time I could just not be a tennis player and that was a nice change. That’s what's waiting for all of us one day, so it’s good to kind of feel what it’s going to look like."
When it comes to making and maintaining a schedule as competitive play resumes, Martic said minimizing the travel for herself and coaching Martijn Bok was a priority.
"That was definitely the challenging part of just making your schedule because it doesn’t depend on the tournaments but more on the region you’re in. So that’s why we decided to stay in Europe. Stay close by and not travel far if we don’t need to. That’s why we’re here and we’re going to Prague after that. I feel the cases here are not that high, so it’s obviously a bigger chance of staying healthy.
"Then we’ll go to the States. The States are maybe not doing that great but on the other hand, if we keep our bubble and if we’re going to be disciplined about it, I think we can do it well and be successful with keeping the cases low, or not having any at all.
"We have to take it day by day, we still don’t know what tournaments are going to be organized and whatnot, so we cannot look any further than that."
While the uncertainty surrounding the tour's restart was difficult, Martic believes tennis players are actually better equipped to improvise.
"It’s been weird, it’s been different, it’s been funny at times with all those different protocols, masks, visors in cars," Martic said. "Of course it’s necessary but at times it’s so different that it just feels surreal.
"But of course it’s necessary to do all these things. That’s what’s going to keep us safe and healthy and from what I know everybody is following it. It’s been good.
"Basically you get tested upon arrival. I actually arrived late so I did it the morning after. The,n once they do the test, you need to isolate in your room for 24 hours or until the test results are back. Then you get your credentials and you’re free to go and do your job."
"Personally, I’m just happy to be here. I’m happy to see that it’s possible to actually start again because still a week or two ago I didn’t believe it, to be honest. So this really gives me hope and I hope that things are going to go in the right direction and we’re going to have quite a few tournaments still this year."