SCOTTISH tennis star Maia Lumsden admits she fears for her career because of the ongoing effects of long Covid.

The 24-year-old will make a return to competitive action next week after 18-months on the sidelines due to the virus.

She had a mild case of coronavirus in October 2020 before becoming very unwell several weeks later.

“I was totally bedbound for a number of months,” the Scot said. “The first six months were tough. I had a lot of tests done and everything was fine but they just didn’t know a lot about it.

“There wasn’t any treatment or any medication that I could take. That was the really hard part, just not knowing what was going on and how badly it was affecting my body.

“As the months went on I was obviously desperate to try to get back to tennis so every now and then I would try to start, but it would make me more ill, basically I’d crash and I’d be back bedbound. There was no timeline on when things would get better.”

Lumsden, who reached a career-high ranking of 250 in October 2019, finally made it back onto court a year after testing positive, beginning with 15-minute sessions.

Another bout of Covid in December set her back but thankfully did not have the same long-term effects and next week she will play in the UK Pro League tournament in Warwick.

“I’m not quite ready to compete in professional events but I’m going to try and test it out, see if I can handle it,” she said. “I am really excited because it’s been so long but still a bit hesitant because I know I won’t be 100 per cent. I’m hoping I can manage the remaining symptoms that I have.”

Lumsden added: “A lot of people, especially my age or athletes, they don’t even really know about long Covid.

“That’s one of the tough things, a lot of people don’t understand what I’ve gone through. Even people I know have said to me, ‘Are you sure it’s not in your head’?”

While the Scot may be ready for a tentative return, that is a distant dream at the moment for Tanysha Dissanayake.

The 20-year-old, who was taking her first steps on the professional circuit prior to contracting Covid-19 last July, is barely able to do anything nine months on.

Dissanayake experienced moderate symptoms after testing positive, including struggling to walk any distance without feeling breathless, and told the PA news agency: “It’s basically been downhill ever since.

“For most of this year I’ve been completely bedbound. Just to speak to you today, I didn’t do anything the whole of the morning, didn’t do much yesterday. One of my friends came over the other day. I had to rest for five days after that.”