Some good news at last, the government has allowed tennis courts to reopen in a limited form but not, as yet, the club house. The grass courts are being prepared and will be ready next week so for the next few days tennis will only be available on the all weather courts.
Our overriding concern will always be the wellbeing of the membership so from tomorrow we are asking all members to abide by the measures listed below. Before coming to the club please make yourself aware of the latest government advice regarding Coronavirus - click here.
If you feel unwell stay at home and do not come to the club until you are well again. Ultimately everyone should consider their own circumstances and make their own personal risk assessment about when they wish to resume playing tennis. The club in turn will do all we can to ensure the club is as safe as possible. Sanitisers have been be fitted at strategic points around the club and we hope to also provide sprays and sterilising wipes as supplies become available. To conserve our limited supply of liquid refills players are asked to bring their own sanitisers for use on court but please do not spill any of the liquid on the court surface.
Until the advice from the LTA changes social tennis and club competitions are suspended. If you wish to play please adhere to the measures below. We are aware that not all members will be able to arrange a partner, so we will look at devising a centralised system of matching people who wish to play with other people looking for a game.
Measures for playing tennis:
- Read the advice for players on the LTA website - click here.
- The courts will be open to people who wish to play but this is at their own risk.
- Courts should be booked using the on line booking system only. While we monitor demand we are restricting bookings to 1 hour per day per household. Please be aware a lot of people will wish to play after Wednesday so in the interests of fairness, can people avoid block booking courts or booking a court every day until the pressure eases next week when the grass courts will be available and we have a better idea of booking patterns. Please can any advanced bookings be ammeded with this infomation.
- At the moment only singles is allowed. Exceptionally doubles is allowed if all four members are from the same household. These rules have been introduced to keep everyone safe. The committee will be monitoring the composition of any doubles matches and will treat any deviations from the one household guidance as a breach of club rules.
- Arrive ready to play and go home straight after your match.
- Players should rotate round the court when changing ends rather than everyone changing on the same side. Players should consider only changing ends after every 4 games rather than 2 or even just at the end of the set.
- Ideally can players wear gloves when dragging the courts, adjusting the nets and opening the doors to the courts.
- Follow the government guidelines on safe distancing.
- Be aware people will have different anxiety levels about the virus, so be considerate.
Protocol with regard to tennis balls
The LTA guidance for players states: Use your own clearly marked tennis balls. Avoid using your hands to pick up tennis balls that aren’t yours - use your racquet/foot to hit/kick them to your opponent or return them to another court
Chris Churchley has suggested the following protocol which satisfies LTA guidance and hopefully maximises players safety: Use only your tennis balls to serve. If you are not serving pass the balls around the court by foot or racquet never touching your hand. When your service is over collect up your balls and the next server use their own balls for their service game.
The US tennis association advise ‘Although unlikely, it’s possible that a tennis ball can transmit the COVID-19 virus’, Players will have differing views on the protocol they wish to adopt. Players should therefore reach a consensus before they play.
Issuing of tennis balls
The provision of tennis balls is included in your membership fee. You can of course provide you own balls but if you wish to use club balls, a member of the committee will be at the club between 10-11 am on Wednesday 13 May and every day until Monday to issue a tube of balls on an individual basis thereafter there will be a different arrangement. Please mark you balls and bring them each time you play and take them home with you afterwards. If you only use them when it’s your turn to serve they should last quite a while. Balls will only be issued to players who have paid their 2020/21 membership subscription and will be limited to one tube per household.
In the unlikely event of someone playing tennis developing symptoms of Coronavirus the club will be asked to provide details of the players who were in the vicinity. If you come to the club to play. Will the person who made the booking also complete the simple record sheet (see the example below )and retain the sheet (or equivalent in excel or word) in case the information is needed at later date.
|RPLTC – Coronavirus playing record|
|Player making the booking|
|Start and finish time|
Russell will provide an update when coaching can resume when he receives further guidance from the LTA. To minimise the chances of spreading the infection do not handle any balls, baskets and other equipment normally use for coaching. These items have been declared out of use until further notice.
The clubhouse is still closed and should only be entered in an extreme emergency to use the telephone or access the defibrillator. The club is run by volunteers consequently we do not have the capacity to deep clean the toilets every day, so they will remain closed until the clubhouse reopens.
I appreciate all the above measures are very onerous but I hope you will agree, if it’s the difference between playing and not playing its worth a bit of inconvenience until we can get back to some form of normality. No doubt there will be some teething problems as we all get used to this new way of playing tennis. I will provide further updates as we continue to refine playing practices.