Tasmanian tennis players finally have something to smile about.
After up to two months off the courts, the state's avid racquet users will hit their first ball on Monday, May 18, following the release of Tennis Tasmania's return to play matrix.
Released late Tuesday, the matrix, which aligns with the Tasmanian government's three-stage plan to returning to a fully-functional society, features an open letter to the state's tennis community from general manager Darren Sturgess and president Martin Turmine.
"It is important to note that while we are hopeful of the ongoing easing of restrictions, we have to be prepared for the possibility of the stages regressing if there were to be any outbreaks that compromise the health of the Tasmanian community at large," the letter said.
"With this in mind, we all (clubs, coaches, volunteers, staff, councils, government and Tennis Tasmania) have a role to play in remaining vigilant to ensure tennis can safely remain open."
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
Launceston's tennis faithful won't have to wait too long for their first serve, with Tennis World Launceston opening their doors with free public court hire for a maximum of four people to a court on Monday.
Manager James Bolzonello said the decision to return to play was an easy one.
"I think tennis is one of those sports that we could have opened up a little bit earlier," Bolzonello said.
"Obviously it's better to be safe than sorry but I feel like tennis is quite a safe sport to be playing because we do have that capability of having the social distancing."
Despite the coronavirus pandemic taking several tournaments and events off the state's calendar, the long-time coach believes some positive changes will come out of the break.
"I think we will see people be a bit savvier online to be able to enter events and research information about events.
"It will be easier for tournaments to run because we are not going to have as many people in our face and hopefully people will be more informed with these safety restrictions and that can carry on into the future and it can help us run events and be a safer community for everyone."
With the sport having to relocate to online platforms during COVID-19 for coaching and information sessions, Bolzonello said the time off was also good for personal development and the unification of the tennis community.
"One of the best things has been being able to interact with other coaches - we've become a lot tighter and built a stronger relationship.
"That's been the biggest benefit out of all of this and hopefully that can continue, we can work together and share more ideas because it's what we need for the sport to continue to grow.
"It's obviously going to be challenging for the next few months but if we can keep this communication and relationships with coaches, parents and shareholders, we can help improve the sport."
Subscriptions are available here.
Sign up to our Sport email here.