Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

Staying motivated, home workouts and viral TikTok videos: Kristie Ahn on the Covid-19 lockdown

Posted on 3 April 2020 by Danny Clark
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Earlier this week it was announced that professional tennis would be suspended until July 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The ruling wiped out the entire grass-court season, including Wimbledon which was due to take place between June 29 and July 12.

Given the global nature of tennis, with players and their teams having to regularly travel through different continents, it seems increasingly unlikely the tour will resume as early as the mid-July mark.

However, what we can be sure of during this period of uncertainty is that players will be facing some difficult and unfamiliar challenges in the coming months.

One player who’s looked to embrace these challenges, and subsequently seen her profile rise considerably over the past couple of weeks is USA’s Kristie Ahn.

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Ahn, who is currently inside the top 100 of the WTA rankings, has put her new-found spare time to good use, posting a collection of captivating and comical videos across her social media platforms.

“My screen time has increased tremendously over the past couple of weeks,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of people reach out and say how much they enjoy my content.”

“It’s a rough time for everyone so if I can give them a good laugh and take their minds off what’s happening, even for a minute, then it’s worth it.”

With strict social distancing guidelines now widely in place throughout the world, athletes are faced with no option other than to maintain their fitness from home.

While Ahn admits that having a gym setup at home is not readily available to everyone, she encourages people to foster a creative approach to staying active and fit during the lockdown.

“I’m lucky enough to have a home gym setup with some cardio machines and weights, but even if you don’t have that available, you can also get creative with body-weight exercises,” she explained.

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However, with the resumption of the tour still a distant reality, Ahn admitted that while keeping fit is enjoyable and relatively straightforward, finding motivation is a more challenging task.

“I think the tougher part is finding the motivation, especially for tennis players right now. We’re currently cancelled through to July and it may get pushed back even further so there is this sense of ‘what am I doing this for?’”

The 27-year-old is currently on lockdown in the US, where a predicted 100,000 to 240,000 lives could be taken due to the virus.

“Our numbers are not great and we’re low on supplies, resources and testing kits,” explained Ahn.

“I think most Americans understand the severity of the issue and are doing their part to isolate and practice social distancing, but we do have a number of people who don’t or won’t take it seriously.”

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With a shadow of doubt cast over the immediate future of the sport, it is understandable that Ahn is realistic and pragmatic when discussing her goals for the rest of the year.

“My main goal is to stay healthy,” admitted Ahn. “I’ve dealt with a number of injuries in my career so making sure I’m taking care of my body is my number one priority.”

“We obviously don’t know what’s going to happen for the rest of the year, not only when we will resume, but also if tournaments will shift, so it’s difficult to set any concrete goals at the moment.

“I think everyone will just be happy to be on court again, so hopefully that mind-set will help everyone play their best tennis when we resume.”