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Tennis makes tentative resumption with some exhibition stuff

It is among the most international of sports, but countries have had to look inwardly in order to restart the action

On Thursday afternoon in Minsk, elite international athletes returned to competition at last. Two Belarusians kicked tennis off as world No 11 Aryna Sabalenka and No 50 Aliaksandra Sasnovich took to the court. Even in Belarus, where the country has relentlessly carried on as much of the world around it has come to a halt, the scene underlined the new normal.

The pair humbled themselves to picking up their own balls and their stage was a small indoor hard court lined with one solitary linesman per side and a handful of spectators. After Sabalenka sealed the victory, the two friends were not allowed to embrace. They tapped the other’s racquet and Sabalenka blew a kiss. They laughed.

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