LTA Update of 01/11/20
As you will know, on Saturday the UK Government set out plans for new national restrictions across the whole of England.
These measures will come into force on Thursday 5 November until 2 December, and will once again present huge challenges for tennis venues, coaches and players up and down the country who, like many others, will have already had an incredibly hard year.
The new measures the Government had set out make clear that sporting activity (other than elite sport) is not allowed indoors, and so unfortunately indoor leisure facilities must close. This includes indoor facilities at clubs and community indoor tennis centres, who are already in a perilous position. The long term future of these venues is vital and many are already facing severe financial challenges, so we will continue to argue for further support from the Government in the form of a Sports Recovery Fund. This is a campaign we are committed to.
A naturally socially distant sport that can be played safely
However the new rules also state that exercise and recreation outdoors is allowed with your household or on your own with one person from another household. Our concern is that it is not yet clear from the guidance whether outdoor tennis will be allowed to continue.
So The LTA are making the strongest case to the Government that outdoor tennis courts should be allowed to remain open for singles play, 1-2-1 coaching as well as use by the same households. We know tennis activity for children is also hugely important and so we have argued for this to continue where possible.
Tennis is a safe, socially distant sport with the net acting as a natural barrier, and as such there is very low risk in terms of transmission of the virus. We believe if adults are allowed to meet someone else from their household for a socially distanced walk or conversation, they should be able to play tennis against each other from either side of a net.
The positive physical and mental impact of tennis is needed now more than ever
As the national governing body for our sport, we have a responsibility to tennis and everyone involved in it, but we believe that this is in the best interests of the nation and the communities in which the many thousands of tennis venues and coaches are based. Millions of adults and children in England play tennis every year and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that it provides, and that positive impact is needed now more than ever.
Keeping people as active as possible can play a key role in how we tackle the coronavirus. The next few weeks are undoubtedly going to be difficult for many people across the country and so the more we can do to maintain access to sport and encourage healthy lifestyles the better. Tennis between two individuals on opposite sides of the net can and should be part of that.
How you can help
The Government will be debating the new restrictions in Parliament this week, so if you wish to contribute your voice to this argument then I would urge you to write to your local MP and make the case for outdoor tennis courts to remain open during the latest restrictions, outlining the positive impact that will have for you. Alongside this, we will be continuing to work hard to make the case to central Government over the next few days.
We will keep you updated on our progress and as always share more information on the restrictions as soon we get it.
Scott Lloyd, CEO