Saturday, July 4, 2020

Tennis bounces back from Covid-19 hurdle

Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) is ready to resume activities under the new normal and has set eyes on hosting an open championship this coming month.

The four-day tournament will be played from the 18th to the 22nd July 2020 at the National Tennis Centre in Gaborone.

As one of the sporting codes given a green light to resume activities, BTA president Oaitse Thipe says they are ready to embrace ‘the new normal.’

Play resumes under caution and will continue ‘as long as players and event venues minimize the health risks of the pandemic.’  

Thipe says as tennis is a non-contact sport, it will be easier to abide by the set regulatory measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

The BTA president says the national tennis facility has 10 courts which makes it ideal to adhere to health protocols.

To ensure a controllable number of athletes converge in the Centre at any given time, he says players’ names, along with the specific times they are playing will be recorded and published.

Thipe says this will ensure athletes will only come to the courts in batches and at specific times when they are due to play to avoid overcrowding.

Among the BTA COVID-19 guidelines for returning to play are; using separate balls and marking the balls so that there is no confusion, no changing of ends. Individuals will also be expected to bring their own sanitizers to the court.

Still on the matter, Thipe says there will be fewer officials at the tournament as a measure to minimize costs and to abide by the set health protocols and restrictions.

The BTA president says the association is yet to land a sponsor for the impending tournament.

“The BTA does not have a sponsor for the competition, but the leaders are working with various companies for sponsorship partnership,” he says.

He says the BTA will shoulder the expenses of the tournament, which are estimated at around P60 000 if the association nails a sponsor, and at P150 000 if no sponsor is found.

Competition is expected to be tough as the championships will be used to select a national team that will represent the country at the Davis Cup and the Federation Cup.

The Davis Cup will be held at Congo, Brazzaville and will commence after the boarders are open.

The registration fee is P300 each player for the categories; men’s singles and doubles, women’s singles and doubles, men and women veterans ‘s singles and doubles.14 and 18 under players are eligible to take part in all categories except the ones for veterans.

Meanwhile, Thipe says prize monies for the upcoming will only be communicated at a later period when the tournament is launched.

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Sunday Standard June 28 – 4 July

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of June 28 - 4 July, 2020.