With lockdown ending in the Principality on May 4th, some of Monaco’s sports personalities were able to return to their regular training, two months after the country ground to a halt. Yet for those dedicated to certain team or indoor sports, they must still wait to get back to normal.
Some have been lucky, such as Lucas Catarina, who has been able to get back to the courts reasonably quickly. Others, like Kevin Crovetto, Quentin Antognelli or Hugo Micallef, must wait a little longer before the health situation allows for them to train safely.
“Tennis is one of the only sports that the public is allowed to do, which is good for us,” smiles Lucas Catarina, visibly at ease with the racket in his hand once again.
“We’re getting back to training slowly,” explains the tennis player, ranked 475th on the ATP. “You have to regain your stamina on the court. Even though I’ve done plenty of fitness training during lockdown, the moves and amount of exertion required for a match are different. I’ve been feeling better already for the past two or three days.”
The length of lockdown has certainly presented some challenges when returning to training, but the young Monegasque is nonetheless relieved to get back on the courts.
“You’re never going to play the way you want after such a long break. But getting back into a rhythm, a more normal one at least, does a lot of good for morale, even if the situation is difficult given that we don’t know when the tournaments will start again. After the initial joy of being back on the courts… Well, who knows what will happen.”
Most competitions remain suspended
Although the ATP and WTA tennis circuits could start up again in July, the same cannot be said for indoor disciplines such as boxing or gymnastics.
“[The situation] is more complicated for gymnasts. We’re still not allowed to go back to training. Social distancing measures are difficult to keep up, especially on the apparatus,” explains Kevin Crovetto, gymnast who took part in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“We still had the opportunity to take some of the equipment home to train three or four times a week. Since lockdown ended, I’ve been training at my coach’s house. We try to do sessions relating to technique in smaller groups, and as for fitness training, we are still doing that individually at home. We’re mainly trying to get back into shape after two difficult months, which has caused us to lose the motions slightly, and certainly shed a lot of muscle mass.”
The gymnast stresses the difficulties faced when trying to set future goals, a problem faced by sports personalities, no matter the discipline. “It’s difficult to plan ahead when each country is in a different stage of the pandemic. We’ll see where we stand in August.”
Different situations in different countries
Crovetto’s situation mirrors that of Monaco’s top-ranked boxer, Hugo Micallef. “It’s all still quite complicated. Stade Louis II is still closed so for the moment I’m training with my coach. We’re going back to the technical basics, without a bag, without a ring, without opponents. It’s the only thing we can do. But it’s still a relief to be able to train outdoors.”
This year, Micallef was going for gold at the Tokyo Olympics, but the dream will have to wait given its postponement to 2021. “I’m looking forward to going to training camp. I should be going to the Canary Isles in the next few weeks. Everything will depend on how things develop.”
Abroad, the situation differs from country to country. This is the case for Quentin Antognelli, the Monegasque rower living in England. “For the moment, nothing’s changed on my end. I’m training at home on the machines, and we’re still more or less in lockdown in Oxford. We’re waiting for the English Rowing Federation to confirm when we can get back on the water. So far in Europe, it’s only Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands who’ve allowed their national team to start training again. Mentally, it’d do us a lot of good to get back together, even if it is too early to know when the competition season will return.”