LTA Competitions update for Organisers and Referees

Dear Organisers & Referees,

We are writing to let you know that we have made the decision to extend the cancellation of tennis competitions up to Sunday 21 March.

While the Government will be making an announcement on its plan for how restrictions in England may be eased during week commencing 22 February and with similar reviews being undertaken by the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales, we do not know yet when lockdown restrictions will end and when tennis competition can return and therefore we wanted to make an early decision to allow you enough time to plan and organise the impact of this for your competitions scheduled next month. Although the situation is slowly starting to improve with more than 12 million people in the UK having now received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, cases remain high across the UK and from what has been said by the Government, the lifting of restrictions will start with schools and from 8th March at the earliest.

The key points for you to be aware of are:

· We will cancel all competitions up until the Sunday 21 March 2020 on the LTA Competition Management System, this will include the remaining Winter Regional Tournaments which were due to take place in March.

· Please log onto the Competition Management System and issue a full refund any entries you have received for all competitions impacted by the cancellation. You will not be impacted by transaction fees incurred in refunding entries.

· If the lifting of restrictions allows for competition activity to take place before 21st March, we will look to restart some Matchplay events and local competitions to give players the opportunity to compete. If this opportunity does arise we will communicate with you accordingly.

· We continue to hope that a full competition programme will be able to run from the Easter Holidays onwards. We will communicate further about the Easter Holiday tournaments after the planned Government announcement for England due week commencing Monday 22 February (Tennis Scotland and Tennis Wales are in a slightly different position so please also see any specific updates via the LTA website). We will pause taking entries for these tournaments at the moment.

· We have made the decision to postpone the 16U and 18U Junior National Championships which were due to be held at Easter until later in the year – this will hopefully give the players more time to prepare for what are the pinnacle domestic competitions in the year for these age groups. We aim to provide an update on our plans for staging Junior Nationals in the near future.

· The last LTA Rating Run will take place in early April before we move to the ITF World Tennis Number in the spring, and the LTA Ranking system will continue to be paused.

· We will continue to run our weekly Referee Webinars every Thursday morning on a variety of topics, the initial 6 sessions have already been advertised with a few more topics to be added in March. We will also be running a number of webinars for tennis parents during this period.

We know that the extended cancellation of competitions is disappointing news for all involved with our sport, but please be assured that the LTA is continuing to liaise with the Government so that players can get back on court as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. The LTA believes tennis is a naturally socially distanced sport that is safe to play and gives people of all ages the opportunity to exercise with friends or relatives, and we know just how important it is for people’s physical and mental health.

In addition, we will also continue to push for Government help to ensure that the tennis community is supported through the coming weeks and months – a summary of the current financial support available from Government continues to be available on the LTA’s website.

In the meantime, you can see any latest updates on the situation on the LTA’s dedicated Coronavirus web page. If you have any questions please get in touch with your Competition Development Partner.

Regards,

Keith Carder
Head of Competition