Liverpool tennis ace Ken Skupski refused to look back on his 2020 season with disappointment despite missing out on a career-high ranking.
Doubles player Skupski had told MerseySportLive in February that his target was to surpass his personal best of 44th in the world.
He had started the campaign strongly with a run to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.
But after failing to get beyond the second round at the season’s other Grand Slams in Paris and New York, he finished the year ranked 57th.
Skupski, however, says he reconsidered his priorities amid the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This season has been a weird one,” he said. “Reaching a career-high looked very likely after Melbourne.
“Unfortunately we got to a stage where points and aspirations turned to safety and being fortunate to still be able to play.”
Skupski began the year playing alongside his brother Neal at the Qatar Open but would then team-up with the veteran Santiago Gonzalez until the season-ending event in Sofia.
They were unable to compete for a full six months, with the season suspended following the Mexican Open at the end of February and not resuming until the US Open at the start of September.
And in a sport where success can rely on momentum, this lay-off stalled their progress.
“I think due to the lockdown phases and quarantine everywhere we go it’s only natural that things aren’t as smooth when it comes to preparation,” Skupski said.
“My partner is from Mexico so we don’t get as much chance to practice together.
“The physical side of things is not really an issue. Most importantly it’s confidence which comes from winning matches and that was hard when you play so infrequently.”
Organisers are hopeful a more conventional schedule can be restored for 2021.
But the Qatar Open and ASB Classic, which Skupski used last year as preparation for the first major in Melbourne, have already had to be postponed.
Photo courtesy of si.robi (Flickr) | Creative Commons Licence