By Carlena Knight
With the news of the relaxation on tennis and swimming by the government, tennis head Cordell Williams Sr believes that once the body follows the protocols, then they can continue to remain open.
Following a ban instituted since March calling for all domestic sports to cease, tennis and swimming have been given permission to operate under various protocols starting tomorrow.
Golf was another sport which was also given permission to operate at an earlier date but all other sports remain banned as the question of safety and the risk of the spread of the Covid-19 virus is still high due to the need for physical contact.
According to Williams, the Antigua and Barbuda Tennis Association (ABTA) has already implemented a number of measures to govern play and the day to day operation at the National Tennis Centre. Protocols, he revealed were passed down by the international body, the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
“When you walk into the National Tennis Centre, you know we have bathroom facilities and we have to put water outside with a basin with hand sanitizer so at entrance the folks who come in wash their hands and when they are leaving, they do the same,” he said.
“In terms of ball play, each person playing will have to have a can of balls that they will have to use and while two persons are playing, if the ball happens to go on the opposite court, you are not allowed to touch it. If you are not playing with certain balls then you are not allowed to touch them. The whole concept of playing and coaching has changed. As a coach, if you are teaching, then only the coach can touch the ball. The children or whoever else is with you will have to use their racket or kick the ball to you. It’s going to be a little difficult going forward but once everybody sticks to the rules and regulations then we should be okay,” he added.
When asked about how the ABTA plans to ensure these guidelines are adhered to, the former national player said: “We have a manager there and the coaches who will use the facility will have to make sure that they stick to the rules and regulations. In terms of the policing, I guess that is something that we will speak more on with the minister of sports and the ministry.”
Williams spoke on the Good Morning JoJo Sports show last Friday.