Tennis Victoria has provided the following with regard to returning to competition play.
The principles that underlie the direction of Tennis Victoria on Return to Play
- Tennis Victoria is the state governing body and must adhere to the Victorian State Government directives. The TV team liaise with Sport & Recreation Victoria and the DHHS daily to receive updates on their guidelines or planned guidelines.
- Unlike other Australian State Governments, Victoria has not provided a Roadmap of recovery – ie. There are no stages that indicate when or if restrictions will ease, hence why TV have not publicised a return to competition date. There are so many moving parts that impact whether or not competition can return eg. Clubhouses open/closed, restrictions on groups of people, Local Government Regulations, ongoing facility maintenance.
- TV staff are active participants in Tennis Australia working groups specifically around competition/tournaments, Government Relations, Communications, Business Continuity and Tennis Delivery. Information gathered from these forums assists in developing guidelines and communication to stakeholders.
- Whilst the AIS guidelines were considered in the initial framework for return to tennis, State Government directives override these, and at times contradict these guidelines.
- Tennis Victoria’s focus is now on a return to competition and with discussions with other Member Associations, state sporting bodies and Sport & Recreation Victoria have developed a plan for a 2 stage return to competition –
- Stage 1 – Internal competition and Association competition (numbers permitting), Stage 2 – Larger Interclub competition, TV pennant.
- Tennis Victoria has canvassed 140 Pennant clubs to gauge their preparedness for return to competition and any issues they faced – eg. Not being able to field teams, courts not being open by the council, court surfaces needing maintenance.
- From June 1st State Government guidelines permitted groups of 20 at outdoor facilities, clubhouses to remain closed except for those that had a café, restaurant or canteen (hospitality guidelines to be adhered to) however still prevented competition for community sport.
- Tennis Victoria sought an exemption for competition for tennis from the Minister for Community Sport Ros Spence due to the fact that we are a non-contact sport, social distancing can be practised, and majority of clubs had experience in managing the hygiene protocols for social play and coaching. This was denied at 3 pm Tuesday 2ndJune.
- We are aware the next stage of restrictions due to be reviewed on June 21st is intended to increase numbers to 50, however, competition is still NOT permitted. Please remember that this applies to all community sport. TV is seeking an exemption for competition once again and will provide further detail to the Minister on what has been permitted in other states. All stakeholders will be advised as to the outcome of this request.
- Professional sport such as AFL, NRL and in fact Tennis is able to resume competition as professional athletes and have a different set of guidelines to adhere to.
- Whilst it is our preference to have a clear timeline of return dates, currently, the health directions from State Government are making this difficult.
- It is TVs intention for club and association tennis to return as soon as possible however we need to ensure that volunteers, players and coaches are safe, well equipped with guidelines and resources to ensure they can return in a safe and planned way.
Tennis Victoria will provide the Associations with regular updates but for right now the message is “No Competition”.