Welsh Government statement on tennis and response

01/06/2020

| Tennis Wales

Following Friday’s Welsh Government Press Conference and a number of subsequent media appearances from the First Minister, the LTA and Tennis Wales have sought further clarity from the Welsh Government on the return of tennis in Wales. 

The Welsh Government has provided the following statement: 

Tennis courts, as with all outdoor sports courts, remain closed in Wales. We know that people want to start playing these sports again and we are working with Tennis Wales and local authorities for the safe return of these sports. However, we will not take unnecessary risks with people’s lives. 

Our approach to any easing of the lockdown restrictions will continue to be cautious and based on the latest advice from SAGE and the WHO. The gap between where the “R” rate is now, and where it starts to spiral out of control, is extremely narrow. That is why we have taken the decision this time to make one main change to ensure we can measure what impact it has on the spread of the virus.  

This time we focused on enabling family & friends to meet again in the open air and under strict conditions.

While reopening of any particular activity may only marginally add to the risk, the Welsh Government has to consider the cumulative impact of all the changes we might make.  It is the combined impact which makes the difference, not the risk posed by any one activity. 

The regulations are reviewed every 3 weeks and we have said that we are reassessing the options of opening sports courts during the current period of the review.

Like the rest of the tennis community in Wales, we are incredibly disappointed and frustrated by this decision. We have been liaising with the Welsh Government throughout the lockdown period, and have developed detailed guidance for players, coaches and venues to allow the safe return of tennis, when the Welsh Government permits courts to re-open. We were confident that tennis could return within the Welsh Government guidance for public health and were supported by more than 2,500 people, petitioning the Welsh Government to consider the health & wellbeing benefits of outdoor tennis. 

The reaction of the wider tennis community in Wales over recent days and the past weeks has shown just how much tennis means to people in Wales. We understand the frustration of everyone involved with the sport, and will continue to work hard on behalf of all involved with tennis in Wales, to ensure that people are able return to being active through tennis.

The LTA and Tennis Wales will continue to work with the Welsh Government over the coming weeks to ensure that following the next review of lockdown measures on 18th June, tennis venues are able to re-open, coaches are able to return to work, and players can return to court, safely and in line with wider restrictions.

 

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