Mount Gambier and District Tennis Association postpones current season in light of virus pandemic

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BIG CALL: The Mount Gambier and District Tennis Association and Lakes Junior Tennis seasons have been postponed with just two rounds of finals remaining, due to the threat of the COVID-19 virus, leaving tennis courts empty on Saturday afternoon. Picture: THOMAS MILES

THE effect of the COVID-19 virus on sporting events and competitions across the world spiralled into the Limestone Coast over the weekend.

The Mount Gambier and District Tennis Association (MGDTA) and Lakes Junior Tennis (LJT) were among the first sporting organisations in the region to make the difficult call to postpone their current seasons to help prevent the potential spread of the virus.

An email was received from Tennis SA and Tennis Australia in the early hours of Saturday morning, which forced a swift decision from Mount Gambier tennis officials.

“The email basically said they (Tennis SA/Tennis Australia) were shutting down all competitions they were in control of,” MGDTA president Matt Charlton said.

“In particular in South Australia that was the metro league and the state league up in Adelaide.

“Then there was a couple of tournaments – one at Port Pirie and another qualifying tournament elsewhere – they pulled the pin on those too.”

The MGDTA was not given direct orders to postpone its season, with instructions to contact the competition organisers in regards to the matter.

That left the final call up to the MGDTA and LJT boards and with only two rounds left to play – the semi-finals and grand final – Charlton said the decision by the board to postpone the competitions was not made lightly.

However, in the best interest of players and spectators, as well as to stay in line with the example set by Tennis SA, it was decided to call off Saturday’s semi-finals and press pause on the season.

“The juniors obviously had to make a decision very quickly because the email came through at about 1am on Saturday morning and their competition started at 8-8.30am,” Charlton said.

“As soon as Cassie (Edwards) saw that, she had to make a decision and she decided to pull the pin on it.

“We had a bit more time to deliberate and I made a couple of phone calls.

“It would have been nice to keep going, having only two rounds left, but we decided to pull the pin on Saturday and reassess.”

The MGDTA will meet tonight to discuss its course of action from here, following a meeting held by Tennis SA yesterday.

“We will have a look at it (tonight) and hopefully we can see a way to get the competition finished in the tradition manor,” Charlton said.

Measures have been put in place in the event finals are unable to be completed, but Charlton said that is a scenario he hopes to avoid.

“If we cannot get the finals completed then the premiership goes to the top of the ladder at the end of the normal rounds,” he said

“We want to avoid that and award shields and premierships based on sporting ability on the day, not ladder position.”

As is the case around the world, it now becomes somewhat of a waiting game and the MGDTA will await an update from Tennis SA to help guide its next decision.

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