Nuneaton Tennis Club’s Return
We returned to play on 13th May when the Government released the update about tennis, golf and fishing; we had so many members keen to start back and we, as a committee, had to ensure measures were in place. Guidelines were issued by the Lawn Tennis Association and we are happy to say that so far, it’s worked really well. Social distancing has had to be maintained at all times, with hand sanitisers being used before and after play and the clubhouse being closed except for the use of the toilets.
We are not allowed to share equipment and hand shaking at the end of a match is replaced by the touching of racquets. Initially singles play was only allowed, but as time progressed we were able to start playing doubles with people from different households. During June individual coaching was able to take place and in July group coaching was available.This has worked really well so the easing back into activity has gone better than we could have hoped.
To help members who had missed two months of play we were able to reduce our annual membership fee with the help of financial assistance from the Government via the Council.
All courts must be booked in advance and evening sessions are so popular that it is difficult to find a space to play, however with many players being furloughed and junior players not being in school the courts have been well used during the day. There are many groups of players who have organised themselves into WhatsApp groups and this has helped to organise groups beforehand and all know which foursome in which they are playing. Having names on booking sheets also enables us to track people should there be an outbreak of the virus.
Throughout the summer we have run tennis camps for children and this has led to increased numbers from previous years.
Many members wished to take part in the club championships, therefore preliminary rounds were held during July and August. The response from family and friends was excellent and many a picnic was enjoyed with social distancing being observed on the club lawn.
Although we are not able to offer social sessions, where members just turn up to play, we, again, have used Whatsapp and all those interested are placed into groups and courts are booked accordingly. This ensures there is no misunderstanding and all know where and when they are playing.
We have found that our membership has remained stable although some have not rejoined we have had interest from those who have only played on indoor courts in the surrounding area and those who wish to exercise but have limited choice of activity. So many have loved the atmosphere and the friendly welcome from members that we look forward to them staying with us for many years. We continue to support those players who have underlying health conditions who do not want to join large groups and ensure space is available when the courts are quiet.