17 April 2020 | Tennis Victoria

Tennis Victoria is reviewing Victorian Government advice regarding COVID-19 daily to ensure our community is provided with up-to-date recommendations at all times.

We are aware there is some confusion in the tennis community regarding the advice on how to ensure we all adhere to the Government guidelines to stay at home unless for essential work/education, health, shopping for essentials and daily exercise.  We also understand that there is specific advice in the DHHS Restricted Activity Directions (No 3) which states one tennis court in an outdoor centre may be used following all appropriate self-distancing and equipment/hygiene rules [Clause 6.4]  We are currently seeking clarity from the Victorian Government about what this tennis-specific clause may mean in practice for our community.

However, our understanding of the Government intent is clear.  Whilst the State of Emergency remains in place and Stage 3 Restrictions limit daily life, the recommendations are to provide opportunity for physical activity and basic exercise, not any form of organised sport in a club setting.  Victoria has done exceptionally well in flattening the curve of the spread of COVID-19 and under no circumstances would we want our sport to put these public health gains, or our community of clubs, members and players at risk.  As such, the Tennis Victoria recommendation that all tennis activity should cease remains in place.  Until either the State of Emergency or Stage 3 Restrictions are lifted, we believe this is the best way to protect the health and wellbeing of the tennis family and wider community.  We understand this is incredibly challenging for all of our members and affiliates – we believe the best and safest return to our sport will be done via a planned and coordinated approach when restrictions on daily life are eased.

Therefore, we reiterate the recommendations issued on March 26th as follows:

  • All tennis programmes and coaching be cancelled, including one on one coaching, until further notice
  • All club, association and social play be cancelled until further notice
  • All tennis clubs and centres close until further notice

If a club and/or coach chooses not to follow this recommendation, please be aware that the decision to open the maximum of one court per facility must sit with the facility owner.  Ultimately, as stated in the Victorian Government DHHS Restricted Activity Directions (No 3) [Clause 6. 4], decisions about opening facilities sit with the owner of the facility – not the sport governing body (Tennis Victoria).  For the majority of our clubs, this will require written approval of the local government authority to open and/or operate the facility.  The closure of all clubrooms and buildings, playgrounds and other spaces such as BBQs, toilets, and outdoor seating in the facilities remains in place as prohibited under the current Victorian Government advice.

Please also be aware if a court is to be re-opened against Tennis Victoria’s recommendation, that social distancing still must be observed at all times:

  • Each individual is required to ensure equipment, including tennis balls and racquets, are not shared – one individual should only touch one set of equipment, including tennis balls, at all times.
  • Only two people are allowed in the facility to play on a single court at any time – this includes children. There is to be no overlap between pairs coming into and going out of the facility.
  • Each person must remain 1.5 meters apart at all times – including walking in and out of the facility, in preparation for the game and during the game.
  • All surfaces and equipment touched at the facility must be disinfected after use by each and every playing pair – this would include any gates, keypads, nets, taps, hoses, mats and any other on-court equipment.
  • If these social distancing recommendations are not adhered to you risk a police fine for breaching the COVID-19 guidelines – we are aware of such fines being issued for people playing tennis over the Easter long weekend.

With all of the above in mind, we cannot recommend tennis is played at this time and we urge the Victorian tennis family to support this position and refrain from playing at tennis courts until restrictions are lifted.

We encourage you to practice your serves and hit balls around your backyard or the park – your dog and kids will love it; find a wall and practice your volleys; or take this time to increase your fitness with agility drills and a long walk, jog or run in the open air – safely distanced from others of course.

We remain in daily contact with Government and will advise of any updates or changes in Government advice via our website.  Our next formal review point will be May 11th when the Victorian Government State of Emergency will be reviewed.

Thank you all for your ongoing support, understanding and patience.