Mon | Mar 1, 2021

Tennis hoping for resumption in March

Published:Saturday | February 20, 2021 | 12:14 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
AZAR
AZAR

Tennis Jamaica (TJ) President John Azar says discussions with the Government on the resumption of the sport are progressing well, and he is optimistic competitions could return in March.

Azar says that TJ has covered all its bases and is now awaiting approval.

“We have been in dialogue with representatives from the various ministries,” Azar told The Gleaner. “We at Tennis Jamaica have mobilised and have all our ducks in a row, and are waiting for the ‘green light’ so we can continue.

“I am not in a position to say what their decision will be, but from our meetings earlier, we are very hopeful we will get some good news shortly.

“Hopefully, we will be back in touch with them again next week, at which point we will be able to reopen.”

NO CONTACT SPORT

Azar says tennis is one of the safest sports in the pandemic, as it is not a contact sport and competitors don’t come in close proximity with each other for any extended period during a match, and that the authorities should take this into account when they decide.

Azar says the Jamaica Gymnastics Association getting the approval to host its national trials recently is a positive sign for all sports.

“I hope that it means the Government is in fact staying true to its promise to look into the reopening as soon as possible, and taking each each sport on a case-by-case basis, so we are cautiously optimistic about restarting events in March,” he said.

Azar says that while plans for resumption are being made, TJ is cognisant of the rise in COVID-19 cases recently.

“The Government has to be very careful especially with the recent spike,” he said. “But we are very anxious to reopen. We have sponsors lined up and we have tournaments tentatively planned.

“But Tennis Jamaica has taken the decision not to proceed beyond a certain point without first getting the approval of the various Government entities.

“Tennis Jamaica has adopted the International Tennis Federation protocols and any event we host or, as a national association, sanction, we will ensure that all the respective protocols are in place to safeguard the players and spectators that may be allowed at the various venues.”

The only tennis played since March last year, when Jamaica recorded its first COVID-19 case, was an invitational exhibition tournament staged by the Liguanea Club in December, but that was suspended by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. As it was privately organised, it did not need to be sanctioned by TJ.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com