Coronavirus outbreak: International Tennis Federation issues new set of guidelines
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) issued a new set of guidelines for local and national-level competitions, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. While all professional tennis has been suspended since March, it is not expected to resume until at least mid-July. Recently, the Wimbledon was canceled due to rising number of cases. The Championships were scheduled from June 29 to July 12.
"They emphasise that decisions made by governments take precedence and that tennis (either competitive or recreational) should not be played until governments have sufficiently relaxed any restrictions that are currently in place," said an ITF statement.
As per the guidelines, the players should arrive at the venue already dressed and leave immediately after the conclusion of the match. The players have to wear masks when off-court. A minimum two-meter distance should be maintained between the players and officials. Each player will use separate set of balls. Only singles matches will be allowed, which should be played behind closed doors.
According to the guidelines, hand shakes have been prohibited. Ball boys and girls will wear rubber gloves with players going around opposite sides of the net at changeovers. Players are also barred from signing autographs and taking pictures, while they will also not share equipment.
ITF clarified that risks could be contained, but they can't be eliminated through the guidelines. "The guidelines seek to provide a framework in which tennis can be played again in a manner that projects against the risk from transmission by COVID-19," the statement read. "The risk from COVID-19 could be minimised, the guidelines are clear that the risk cannot be eliminated altogether," it added.