Recreational tennis is back. Club members were allowed to play just singles as from a few weeks ago but now, as of the 1st June, they can resume their doubles partnerships and continue their rivalries with fellow members, all part of the Government’s easing of lockdown restrictions.
However, this benefit just applies to England with Wales still banning any tennis participation while Scotland is one stage behind with singles only and using ‘personalised’ balls.
The LTA has published new guidelines which still insists on a two-metre social distancing rule between players but admitting that there will be moments when that is impossible by adding ‘as far as possible’!
They also suggest that to avoid clashes in the middle of the court, that they should agree in advance ‘which player will take the shot if the ball travels to the centre of the court’.
While the guidelines no longer insist on players marking their own balls, it reinforces the problems which could arise from shared balls by declaring ‘extra care must be taken to ensure you do not touch your face during play, and you should clean your hands before play and immediately after finishing’.
Again, Scotland does continue to insist that ‘personalised’ balls be used and doubles only with members of their households.
Interestingly Price of Bath, the only tennis ball manufacturer in the country, have used the lockdown to good effect and have come up with a solution to ‘personalise’ balls by producing a variety of different coloured pressurised tennis balls, all manufactured to ITF type 2 tennis ball specifications.
The Limited Edition Price Citation Ball comes in a variety of colours including Red, Pink, Orange, and Green, making it easy to spot balls on the court and not mix them up with your tennis partner’s or opponent’s tennis balls. Needless to say the colour difference helps to reduce the risk of cross-contamination whilst providing the performance and feel of a pressurised tennis ball.
The balls are available on the Price of Bath website here
Meanwhile, group coaching is now resuming in England but only for six people with the proviso that sharing of equipment is avoided but if impossible with say, rackets, they must be thoroughly cleaned before and after use.
In Scotland, tennis coaching is being restricted to one-on-one sessions and players are told not to share any equipment, including rackets.
And so tennis, if only at Club level can be said to be slowly emerging out of the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.