The courts were busy at Enniskillen Tennis Club last week as tennis was among the first sports to return to action.

And Head Coach, Matthew McGann says that there was a lot of people keen to get back on the court when the restriction was lifted.

“Yes everyone has missed not only the exercise and the enjoyment of the game but also the social interaction that we all took for granted,” he said.

However, like golf, there have been a number of protocols that have had to be put in place to accommodate tennis being able to return.

“Fortunately tennis is a sport where most of the time you are separated by a net and almost 24 metres of court.

“Despite tennis naturally lending itself to social distancing there were still a lot of extra measures to be put in place,” explained Matthew.

“There was a comprehensive list of guidelines that Ulster Tennis issued to all tennis clubs and all those guidelines needed to be applied.

“To facilitate the implementation of these extra measures the Enniskillen club formed a special “Covid committee” dedicated to making sure these guidelines were applied. As with golf, the courts are only open to members but we welcome any new members wishing to play.

“In this initial step tennis is mainly singles and doubles is only if your partner is from the same household.

“Each player has their own set of tennis balls that they serve with so that they only touch the tennis balls that are their own.

“The clubhouse is out of bounds, so for now there is no before or after match socialising.

“The many rules allow a club member to book their court and walk onto the court, play their game and go home having touched nothing except their own racket and set of tennis balls,” he added.

And McGann feels that with the return of tennis there is also the added benefit for people’s well being.

“ There are the obvious health and mental health benefits of exercising in the fresh air. But there is also a huge benefit emotionally. Seeing people you haven’t seen in person for so long and interacting by way of playing the game has a really positive effect on the mind. The sound of the tennis ball being struck is a sound that all tennis players adore. It’s clear by looking at the smiles on the faces and hearing the shrieks of laughter that those who have resumed playing haven’t lost the joy of playing our wonderful sport.”

There is unlikely to be any competitive tennis for some time yet but McGann is still gearing up for a hectic summer at the club.

“Competitive tennis is going to be a good bit down the line but we would expect the courts to be fairly busy anyway over the next while.

“Most tennis at the club on a day to day basis is just for fun. Already we have seen club members of all ages up playing their games and it’s been great to see parents up with their children having a great time playing tennis together.

“Now we are coming into the summer months and there will not be the usual binge watching of the Wimbledon championships as they have been cancelled. So all the tennis fans will just need to get their tennis fix at the tennis club playing the game for themselves,” he said.