Tennis players serve off again as clubs across the nation re-open

tennis clubs around the country are reopeningtennis clubs around the country are reopening
tennis clubs around the country are reopening | jpimedia
Tennis clubs across Preston are re-opening their doors today.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, clubs across the United Kingdom were forced to close their courts as the country went into lockdown

But following prime minister Boris Johnson relaxation of some restrictions, the sport can be played once more although strict conditions have been put in place.

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While outdoor courts maybe open, clubhouses and changing-rooms must stay closed.

Strict conditions are in place to protect players' healthStrict conditions are in place to protect players' health
Strict conditions are in place to protect players' health | freelance

Players can play singles against one person from another household.

But for a game of doubles to take place, everyone has to be from the same household.

These new rules only apply in England. Across the rest of the United Kingdom, the advice is still to stay at home and not play tennis.

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Longton Tennis Club secretary Chris Rodd revealed that the first players walked on the courts, in School Lane, at 11am this morning.

"We are quite a small, family club - everybody knows everybody so I don't envisage anyone having a problem with sticking to the rules," he said.

"We are comfortable that everybody knows what they need to do in terms of sticking to social distancing.

"I think everybody is looking forward to just getting down and having a hit where possible."

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To ensure the safety of all members, shaking hands at the end of games will be banned and there will be no changing of ends.

In terms of handling balls, players must bring their own set of new balls and wash their hands thoroughly before going out on court."

One factor which is uncertain is re-commencement of competitive tennis.

Longton take part in the Summer Ribble League and Rodd believes it is unlikely that any fixtures will be played.

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"The league is on hold at minute and whether that will start up again at any point this summer in some sort of form is unknown.

"It is always good to play competitive tennis against other clubs so we will have to see."

One club which has not reopened yet is Fulwood Lawn Tennis Club, but that is only because the four courts in Highgate Avenue are in the process of being resurfaced.

But chairwoman Jane Blackwood believes the club will be ready to stage tennis, under the present restrictions, later this month.

"Unfortunately, we are not open at the moment, but that is because our courts are being resurfaced which is fantastic news for us," she said.

"We are planning on reopening on Monday, May 25."