Simon Carr making the most of lockdown challenges

Simon Carr making the most of lockdown challenges
Simon Carr with his physical trainer and father Tommy Carr during a training session at his home in Westmeath. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Tennis player Simon Carr is just one of millions of athletes trying to find their way through the lockdown - the Dubliner, 20, should be on the ATP Tour right now but instead he’s cooped up at home in Dublin.

Carr is looking on the bright side, however: “I’ve been grand, all things considered. I’m lucky in a lot of ways - my Dad is my fitness trainer, and we’ve been able to set up a home gym in the garage, luckily enough.

“I’m living right beside the Royal Canal in Dublin, and there’s a greenway which runs alongside that, so I’ve been able to do my runs there.

“Obviously it’s a very tough situation for everyone, and there are people in far more difficult circumstances than me, I’ve been lucky in terms of the facilities I can access here to keep myself ticking over in terms of physical fitness, anyway.

“I’ve worked away on that aspect of my game in particular because at the very start of the year I’d a few problems, so that’s an area I’m focusing on right now.”

Carr is used to flying solo - doing the rounds of the professional Tour means a lot of time alone and a lot of setting goals for oneself - and having the discipline to follow through on those goals: “I’m on the Tour for quite a lot of the year, so I’m used to setting targets for myself week in week out - whether those are goals for what I want to achieve in a particular week, fitness goals or performance goals.

“Obviously it’s different now, and it can get monotonous when you’re locked down for seven or eight weeks, but we try to keep it as fun as possible - to make it different by changing things around.”

For all of the competitive nature of professional sports, there’s a camaraderie to the Tour as well.

“You’d miss that,” says Carr.

We’re all competing against each other but some of those guys are among my best friends as well.

“Obviously there’s a decent chance you’ll end up playing each other at a given tournament but we’re also keeping in touch - the same as everybody, it’s tough not being able to see your friends, but we’re all in the same boat.”

The lockdown means no competitive games, which can’t help a player’s career, but Carr sees opportunity in the crisis.

“The way I’m looking at it, all sportspeople probably never get this kind of chance in their careers - to sit back and take a break from the stresses of competition.

“Because of that it’s a chance to pick out something to do with your sport and to work on it so that at least by the end of the lockdown you can say, ‘well, I’ve improved that’.

“I know well that there are plenty of people who aren’t lucky enough to access the facilities I can, but I’m trying to work on the physical side of my game in the lockdown and make improvements there.”

His Dad is Tommy Carr, former Dublin football player and manager, which is helpful when he’s also Simon’s physical trainer: “It’s great to have my Dad here training me - obviously we have our moments sometimes, that’s only natural, but it’s bound to help when you just wait up and everything is there on your doorstep for training - including the trainer. It’s obviously very comfortable.

“We’re also lucky enough to have tennis court just up the road from us, and I’ve been able to practice my serve there and my Dad’s been able to hit a few balls to me. It’s been great to be able to do some work there as well.

“Hopefully I’ll be back playing soon - and not just tennis, we love playing golf in our house, so I’m really looking forward to a round of golf as well as getting back to tennis.

“Right now we’re like everybody else, just looking forward to next Monday and hoping things will open up a bit for everyone.”

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