July return for tennis? | Local Sports

ALMOST all competitive sporting activity around the world has been virtually shut down for the last two months because of the coronavirus.

But with many nations passing their peak of the pandemic, many sports could be on their way back soon.

And with just two players on a court, measuring 78 feet long and 27 feet (for singles) wide and separated by a net, tennis could be one of the first sports to return.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has suspended all its events until the middle of July and there could be a further postponement of all its international competitions. However, the world governing body for the sport has given the green light for the return of local tournaments at the end of next month

As a result, their president, David Haggerty, recently released a series of guidelines for “returning to tennis” to all ITF member countries.

Tennis used to be known as a “gentleman’s game” and players have been fined for refusing to shake an opponent’s hand after a match. But when action resumes there would no more handshakes on court.

The ITF also recommends that tournaments do not include doubles events and each player uses a separate set of tennis balls and does not share equipment.

The Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) has already embraced these guidelines which also include limiting the amount of spectators as well as players using opposite sides of the net during changeovers, and maintaining a distance of two metres from on-court officials during a match.

Players will also be required to arrive at the venue dressed to play shortly before their match and depart right after it is completed.

When the virus first arrived in Trinidad in the middle of March, this was a regulation for the first day of the second week of the Tranquillity Open Tournament, before officials postponed the remainder of the competition.

Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) president Hayden Mitchell yesterday stated that no decision has as yet been taken on which will be the first local tournament after the break and promised to release guidelines in the next few days to coaches and academies as regards amended training programmes for players.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced that members of the public will be allowed to engage in restricted outdoor activities. However, this will exclude team or contact sports activities or any activity that requires gatherings.

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