After the UK Government declared that competitive sport is allowed to return from Monday, albeit in a behind closed doors format, fans up and down the country are chomping at the bit to see their favourite teams and players in action.
Sportsmail experts discuss which sporting icons or events they are most excited to see when their respective disciplines return over the summer…
Cricket – Paul Newman
That moment when Joe Root or Jason Holder leads his team on to the field on July 8 in Southampton to begin the most disrupted cricket season in our lifetimes.
The start of a three-match Test series between England and West Indies. That’s what I’m most looking forward to. It will be a special moment.
It still has to be confirmed, of course, and the ECB are running out of time to get clearance from the Government for West Indies to go straight into a training camp at Emirates Old Trafford once they arrive here a week on Tuesday.
The three-match Test series between Joe Root’s England and West Indies is nearly here
But it would be soul-destroying if it did not happen now. So much planning has gone into behind closed doors, bio-confident (it can only be fully bio-secure in a laboratory) cricket. And, crucially, there is so much willingness from the players for it to happen.
Of course it will not be the same without crowds. Of course it will be strange to see empty stands at the Ageas Bowl. But we just have to accept that for now because full houses are not coming back any time soon.
And Sky’s cricket coverage is so good — I reckon it is better than any coverage of any sport in any country — that it is almost as good as being there anyway.
Certainly, as a cricket correspondent, if I’m not allowed into the grounds during these exceptional times, then I am confident I can still do my job by watching it on TV.
Here are all the key dates to know for the when the cricket season resumes this summer
Golf – Derek Lawrenson
Tiger and Rory. Could this be the summer when we finally see them go head to head with a meaningful title on the line?
The Tiger Woods we saw in his exhibition match eight days ago really whetted the appetite, a world removed from the stiff-limbed soul we saw in February.
When golf returns, he will have no international travel to worry about and the temperatures will be warm — two factors that will surely help him stay fit and healthy.
And don’t forget, his next victory will see him break the record of 82 PGA Tour wins that he currently shares with Sam Snead.
Chances are, when Woods does put three good rounds together somewhere along the line, Rory McIlroy will be waiting for him come Sunday afternoon. We’d all cope with that going ahead behind closed doors, wouldn’t we?
Tiger Woods’ recent exhibition match against Phil Mickelson whetted the appetite for fans
A Woods vs Rory McIlroy (pictured) contest would make behind closed doors games seem fun
Look to the Northern Irishman to pick up from where he left off before the lockdown, with his dazzling string of seven straight top-five finishes.
The thought of a Masters staged in November in front of a limited audience is also really intriguing. Will we see the course play differently to the spring, and favour different players?
No azaleas, no dogwoods in bloom, but equally no doubt Augusta National will come up with something to take the breath away. It’s going to be fascinating.
What about the Ryder Cup? Alas, the idea of it behind staged without fans in September gets no more appealing.
Fingers crossed, a postponement will be forthcoming shortly.
Here are all the key dates you need to know for the when the golf season resumes this summer
F1 – Jonathan McEvoy
London to Melbourne, a 20,000-mile round trip, is about as far as you can schlep to be told: ‘Sorry, the race is off.’
So, having landed dejected at Heathrow on March 15, the day Formula One should have staged its opening grand prix, Austria’s Red Bull Ring dazzles like a pot of honey at the foot of the Alps.
Barring some unforeseen setback, the season is set to roar off there in Spielberg on July 5. Just a month and a bit to go, and anyone who enjoys motor racing must be crossing off the days.
It remains to be seen if Lewis Hamilton will be refreshed or rusty when F1 gets underway
There will be no spectators, alas. But for TV viewers that will matter little. They will get the same number of laps, the full cast of cars and drivers.
Will Lewis Hamilton be refreshed or rusty? Will the gamers, the young eSports devotees who seek to usurp him, be sharpened by their sitting-room practice?
It will be a strange experience for F1’s nomadic contingent, pared down to some thousand personnel in the circumstances: tested, tested, tested, and locked away from outsiders.
The F1 world will only start to get back to any remote semblance of normality when the paddock is its usual, warmly peopled marketplace of intrigue. That will need the motorhomes to return.
At some point the fans will come back, but will that be before the season closes in Abu Dhabi in November? Whatever, any sort of start is welcome for now. And if they let me in, I’ll tell you how it goes.
Here are all the key dates for the when the Formula One season commences this summer
Tennis – Mike Dickson
Jamie Murray has brought together Britain’s eight top-ranked men to restart the season on June 23, and these days that means a relatively strong field.
Leading Brit versus leading Brit is rarely witnessed, and always brings a unique dynamic with bragging rights at stake.
Even behind closed doors and without ranking points it is sure to be extremely competitive. Dan Evans will want to show he is top dog.
Andy Murray is scheduled to return to the tennis court for the first time since October
Most intriguing will be the return of Andy Murray. Assuming he is fit, these will be the first matches he has played without hindrance since winning the European Open last October.
We should learn a lot about whether his career has the chance of an Indian summer.
A series of domestic events could lead into the US Open, which is so keen to go ahead from August 31 it is talking about flying players in on chartered flights, although spectators look likely to be barred.
The Italian Open hopes to be staged in September ahead of a rescheduled French Open. The clay-court season was a grievous loss, but odds are shortening on something being salvaged in the early autumn, with Roland Garros desperate to get the green light to happen, potentially after Rome.
It will be unpredictable and a touch surreal. My guess is that the most experienced players will emerge strongest from lockdown — it will be fascinating to see if that is correct.
Here are all the key dates you need to know for when the tennis season resumes this summer
Rugby Union – Chris Foy
Whenever the Premiership returns, stand by for fireworks from Bristol, thanks to the addition of the most electric runner in world rugby — Semi Radradra.
The flying Fijian is box-office gold and it is a shame his arrival in English rugby must take place behind closed doors.
When crowds return, the 27-year-old will fill stadiums wherever he goes.
Semi Radradra (pictured) is set to impress rugby fans when the sport returns this year
He is a freakish talent. At last year’s World Cup, Radradra caused all manner of problems for Wales in a pool match and the next day Eddie Jones delivered a stirring tribute.
The England head coach was supposed to be pre-occupied with his team’s clash with France being called off due to a typhoon, but he lavished praise on Radradra as a beacon for the sport. Radradra made his name playing rugby league for Parramatta Eels in Australia, before crossing codes to join Toulon.
There, he wrought havoc in France’s Top 14 and helped Chris Ashton plunder a try-scoring record.
Radradra has pace, deft footwork, power, distribution skills, vision and finishing instincts. Bristol fans will be looking forward to the spectacle of him running amok alongside ex-All Black sorcerer Charles Piutau, England prop Kyle Sinckler and Saracens loanees Ben Earl and Max Malins. Expect the Bears to be right in the title hunt.
Here are all the key dates for the when the rugby union season resumes this summer