Coronavirus (COVID-19) - NOTE TO MEMBERS FROM THE CHAIRMAN 21 March 2020

Posted 22nd March 2020

The past few days have been very troubling generally. The restrictions on our liberty and normal way of life are unprecedented. However, in these uncertain times I hope that the tennis club will be able to provide some much-needed light relief for those who are largely stuck at home all day, rarely stepping outside their four walls. Hopefully we can provide you with a safe space, out in the open air to blow away the cobwebs. We all know tennis is a unique sport which has many benefits - the main one being health and wellbeing. Whilst the LTA has suspended its organised activity, the Government has currently indicated that physical exercise (including grass roots coaching) that takes place at a safe distance from others and in safe exercise environments is something that can continue at this time.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has specifically advised the sporting world that tennis is, in fact, one of the best examples of social distancing in practice, and so should be encouraged as long as the guidance permits. It is good for our physical and mental health. So I urge you to continue to use the club whilst taking note of the advice around social distancing and hygiene.

Jake and the coaching team have made the difficult decision to suspend group coaching activities for the time being. One of the main reasons being that it is hard to ensure "social distancing" is maintained when young children are involved. But Jake, Oli and Chantal are continuing to hold sessions on a 1-2-1 basis with players of all ages or with small family groups to ensure they get great value for their usual coaching payment. As much as possible I hope members will not cancel their regular payments to the coaching team. Jake, Oli and Chantal are all self-employed coaches and need our continuing support as their entire livelihoods are at stake for the duration of this episode.

Judith is in the process of clearing all the existing bookings from the online court booking system for the period where matches and coaching have definitely been cancelled. We will be booking the courts that Jake and his team will use for this new coaching arrangement. That will still leave lots of court space for everyone else. But I would urge you all to look online before going to the club and make a booking if courts are free.

For as long as we are allowed to remain open we will do so. Only if citizens are put under the equivalent of "house arrest" will the club close its doors. Saturday afternoon club sessions will continue and the Brian Morley Tournament will go ahead on Saturday 4 April. You are all able to continuing arranging social play during the day and in the evenings - although the bar will remain closed. Please bring your access fob as the gates are likely to be closed more of the time. And please remember all the advice you have received in recent days about hygiene and handwashing. Anyone who is more vulnerable because of age or underlying health issues will need to make up their own mind and weigh up the risks to them given their particular health issues.

All memberships are due for renewal on or before 1 April and, if you have not already renewed, please do so as soon as possible to take advantage of the Early Payment Discount. The Wimbledon Ticket Ballot will be taking place in early April and only paid up members of the Club will be eligible. As we all know, our present situation is changing every day and if there comes a point when the club is forced to close its doors for an extended period, memberships will be extended by that same period into the 2021/22 year.

But my message is clear: Enjoy the tennis club and let it be part of your strategy for coping with these difficult times.

Nigel Jordan

Tennis Membership