DEADEYE: Christian Joseph hits up at the George Alder Tennis Centre in Leichhardt.

Picture: Rob Williams
DEADEYE: Christian Joseph hits up at the George Alder Tennis Centre in Leichhardt. Picture: Rob Williams

Regional tennis swings into gear

PLAYERS are elated to hear fixtures will resume at Leichhardt’s George Alder Tennis Centre tomorrow night under strict coronavirus requirements.

Managed by the Top Tennis Academy, the facility has had only limited use since late March, with all competitions and group sessions suspended.

Due to its non-contact nature tennis was one of the few sports allowed to continue when the pandemic struck., Private lessons only were permitted, however Top Tennis Academy director Lincoln Remar felt it was responsible to cancel them as well when social distancing restrictions were at their peak given the centre was a ‘community facility’.

With the exception of Top Tennis Academy administrator Ellie Matic, who has spent roughly 10 hours each week rolling the red clay courts on a tractor, the centre has been largely unoccupied.

In a positive sign for community sports around the country, however, the hiatus ends tomorrow night as 20 players take to the courts for singles matches to be contested under COVID-safe conditions.

Under the modified rules there will be no swapping ends, no high fives or hand shakes, and players and officials must maintain 1.5m distance from each other. Own water bottles must be used. Cans of balls will be opened but not touched, with each player given two to use for the entire game. Courts are to be allocated prior to arrival to prevent people from gathering to sign-on. Sweat towels are to be used and sanitiser will be accessible on site.

Remar said there had been a great response, with players champing at the bit to get back on the court.

“It’s our first Wednesday back and we’re going to use 10 of the 12 courts, so it has been really good,” he said.

“Everyone is really stoked.”

It is also possible to make private bookings, with only singles matches allowed.

Remar said a lot of people had been out enjoying a game of tennis as an alternative to other forms of exercise and he encouraged everyone to get out and have a hit.

We’ve had a lot already doing that and they have been loving it,” he said.

“You can hire a court and you can be at one end, with your friend at the other end, and you can work out, and there is absolutely no contact and 0.0001 per cent risk of transmission.”

From next week school programs will restart in groups of six under similar safety precautions, with coaches to pick up balls and no serving. It is hoped a full resumption can occur in August.



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