26-year-old British Tennis player Alicia Barnett has been playing since she was seven years of age. She, along with a host of other players have to start out their career by playing on the ITF tour.

Despite the lockdown, Alicia has been focusing on her training with the hope of playing some form of tennis this year.

“It could be a lot worse, as I’m lucky that I am living at home with my family in the countryside making the most of the family time and going on walks and stuff.” she said.

 In terms of Alicia’s training, she has been keeping busy.

“I’ve stayed pretty motivated by doing a lot of fitness every day, and I’ve actually enjoyed keeping fit by focusing on a few things that I may not have been able to do during the season.” she said. “I’ve also being doing lots of pilates classes and Zoom classes as well.” she added.

Alicia, has been playing on the ITF tour for quite a while, with her last action back in February this year in Sunderland.

“I started playing on the ITF tour before I went to university, when I was 16 or 17, and it’s been a journey I would say.” she said. “In the last three years since I graduated, I have learnt a lot. I wouldn’t say the tour is easy and it’s not for everyone, it’s been an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity to travel all over the world, meet people from every different country and see parts of the world you would probably never see and I think I have learnt a huge amount over the years.”

Playing on the tour brings few big financial rewards and digs deep into a tennis players pocket.

“I think about 30 per cent of my expenses were accommodation and 30 per cent were transport travel, so it is an expensive sport and is financially demanding.” she said.

Alicia, has been playing some doubles tournaments recently with fellow Brit Olivia Nicholls, and were successful as a pairing by winning the doubles event in Sunderland back in February.

“We just click really well.” she said. “Unfortunately, Olivia has been injured the previous year and that was her second tournament back after having shoulder surgery, so it was a massive confidence boost for her and also made me feel great that I could be part of that for her.”

It came as no surprise to Alicia when the news came through earlier this year that the whole British grass court season would have to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

“We all knew it was coming, but when it was announced I think it kind off just made it very real and it was hugely disappointing.” she said.” But there wasn’t anything we could do about it.”

Alicia, remains confident that she will be able to get back on to the court once again in the near future.

“Domestically we are very lucky as the LTA are going to put on a lot of tournaments.” she said. ” she added.” So, I think for British players we are going to be very lucky as we are going to have tournaments throughout the nation over the next few months, which is another way of supporting the British players.”

There has been a lot of talk recently of both tennis groups the WTA and ATP joining forces.

“I think in principal it’s a really good idea.” she said. “Billie Jean King went on to form the WTA, so we could have one voiced women, but I think it would be very complicated and costly to merge, but in principal I think it’s a great idea. It’s confusing to fans by having different logos and having different tv subscriptions and I think it would be amazing for women and men to be joined together for international support and hopefully this is something that can be looked at at this time  and we can have it in the future.”

Interview with Alicia Barnett