Today, 75 years on, we remember the moment war in Europe came to an end. On Sunday, the Prime Minister will tell us more about plans for the beginning of the end to the Coronavirus lockdown. It may still be some weeks away, but it looks likely that we will be playing (appropriately distanced) singles matches again quite soon. Now, as then, it is a time for reflection and preparation.
YOUR LEAGUES - POINTS TO NOTE
No rounds are open to re-join yet! For the latest information on what tennis may be played see the LTA's website.
Published round dates are subject to change and have not yet been updated with the new schedule. Our latest information will be posted here.
As soon as we know when tennis can be played, we will update the round dates, unlock the rounds for joining and send emails inviting entries in the usual way. (If you haven't played in a particular league before and want to know about new rounds starting, associate that league with your LTL account. There is a guide to doing this here.)
If your previous round was interrupted by the lockdown, you will have received some form of credit. To access your credit, see the coupon tab on your account page.
If you joined a round that didn't start, you will need to use your coupon credit to rejoin - you will not be automatically included!
Use your coupon code at the checkout.
All play will be at your own risk and you should take and follow medical and government advice as appropriate.
Contact us if you need assistance. We are likely to be busier than usual so your patience will be much appreciated and once again, DO NOTE for the moment NO ROUNDS CAN BE JOINED and tennis should not be played.
For six years, during the Second World War, Wimbledon was cancelled. Farm animals were raised in the carpark and even the groundsmen went off to war.
But slowly, the country returned to a form of normality. Fred Perry, the great British champion of the day, toured the country to hit with children who had never seen the game played. Clubs, many of which had suffered terribly, losing scores of players to the conflict, found the joy of reopening courts tinged with a profound sadness. Finally on 24 June, 1946, the Championships returned. The roof on Centre Court was bomb-damaged, rationing was still in place and there was a terrible shortage of balls. None of that mattered. Tennis was back.
Now, as then, we will have to wait for the return of Wimbledon and while the Coronavirus pandemic has been a crisis of a very different sort, the restart will again be a cautious and considered affair. Out of respect for those who have died and the enormity of making sure we do what we can to prevent a second wave of the virus, when the government does announce that it is safe to go back on court, we will need to adapt.
They are already doing so in Austria, Denmark and Guernsey where tennis is once again allowed. Providing certain measures are taken, including keeping your distance and regularly washing equipment, singles can be played.
We are following the advice both from the UK government (and the national administrations) and the LTA. As the restart comes closer, we will have more information and guidance. Here are some of the conditions of play that we believe are likely to become our new normal.
When play does restart...
- It is likely to be singles only Tennis can be the perfect social distancing sport, so long as it is singles only.
- Play outside Tennis will almost certainly be allowed outside only but that is no hardship. If this beautiful weather continues, parks will definitely be the tennis venue of choice.
- Safe travel Players will be obliged to give thought to how to get to the courts safely. Ideally, this will be on foot or by bike. We will be asking you to join the league nearest you, avoiding bus journeys and, in London, the tube.
- It's not just about us players If your courts are manned, spare a thought for the staff. You will be interacting with one player only; the staff in the tennis hut or club who open up the courts, will probably have to interact with dozens of people a day. Be grateful and keep your distance.
- Local rules apply Some courts may not open as soon as others, some will have temporary booking arrangements and some may be restricting usage. Fit in and follow the new guidelines.
- Balls We don't know what the advice will be on balls, but it seems sensible for each player to take his or her own set, clearly marked and to serve with these. Pick up stray balls by bouncing your racket on them, or use the racket and the side of your foot.
- Social distancing still applies Change ends on opposite sides of the net, do not get within 2 metres of your opponent and don't shake hands!
- Try to avoid touching your face This may not be easy, but we know the virus is transmitted via eyes, nose and mouth. The less you touch your face having touched any other surface, the better. Face masks, as worn by world no. 354 Benjamin Hassan in an exhibition match in Germany, may become commonplace.
- Don't get into an argument! Things are unlikely to go smoothly all at once, especially as there could be huge pent up demand for tennis! If someone has double booked your court, be reasonable and patient. Don't get up close and shout!
- Wash your hands! Do this both before and after playing, or use hand sanitiser
- Wash your racket grip After the match, clean your racket with alcohol gel or hand sanitiser. Even better, change your grip for each match
- Wait for official advice and follow it While the above sounds like a reasonable way to take precautions, please wait for offical advice from the government and follow it.