Tennis clubs believe that tennis is the perfect sport to practice during the coronavirus pandemic in the Netherlands.
Rolf Lagerberg, a representative of the Groningen student tennis club (GSTC), told The Lens that the 1.5 meters of distance people are expected to maintain from each other is easily maintained within the parameters of the sport.
During the coronavirus pandemic, people around the world were coming up with creative solutions to continue practicing a sport. While some had to follow workouts online from their home, tennis players realised that not much had to change for them. The main rules of the sport didn’t need adjusting and outdoor courts could still be used.
A spokesperson from the Dutch national tennis federation (KNLTB) confirmed with The Lens that outdoor tennis matches between two players can still be played inline with the current rules imposed by the government. The KNLTB does not set restrictions specifically for tennis, however, the spokesperson said that they brief clubs and players about what the government’s rules mean for them in practical terms.
Lagerberg said that players are on opposite sides of the net and in theory don’t ever have to stand close to one another. The pandemic didn’t stop the club’s members from playing, however, tents erected on outdoor tennis courts to shield players from rain and snow created issues. Lagerberg said that since the outdoor courts were covered, this meant that legally they were classified as indoor courts, which means that they can’t be used at the moment. Luckily, some uncovered outdoor courts are available for use by the club’s 270 members.
Lagerberg recommends tennis to people who want to get their mind off their daily worries and who want to relieve some stress through sports.
Martijn Endendijk, president of the Albertus Magnus tennis club (TAM), told The Lens that his club also experienced an increase in the number of people applying to become members. In fact, the club is full and has around 590 members.
“It’s a naturally distant sport. So single solos are perfect to play during the pandemic,” says Martijn. “The pandemic affected our club since we don’t have physical activities, but the tennis part is up and running so that’s great,” Martijn said. He added that it’s unfortunate that people can’t play doubles (two players playing against each other) as they were as popular as the single matches among groups of friends.
Both Lagerberg and Endendijk mentioned that competitions are currently cancelled. The KNLTB spokesperson told the Lens that the federation is evaluating the situation and will announce a decision on the 1st of March about whether or not competitions can start again in April. The spokesperson added that if need be, competitions can be pushed a week or two later with a restriction on the number of teams that can participate.
Lagerberg said that one of his teammates tested positive for the coronavirus during the competitions which were still running until October. However, no other team members or opponents caught the virus, reinforcing the view that tennis is the perfect sport to play during the current pandemic.
The Lens reached out to the third locally established club, Veracket, but didn’t receive a reply by the time of publication.