The domestic tennis tournaments are set to resume from November 16 after a hiatus of eight months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) said on Monday.
Competitive tennis, like all other sporting activities in the country, was halted since March 16 due to the ongoing pandemic.
According to an AITA statement, the tournaments will initially begin in the age categories of U-12, U-14 and U-16 only.
The duration of the tournaments would remain restricted to three days, with a maximum draw of 32 allowed.
“During the AITA’s Management Committee meeting, a decision was taken to communicate to the Secretaries of all the Affiliates of AITA to make all efforts to restart tennis tournaments by 16th November 2020 by keeping in mind all the safety precautions that may be required as per the existing Govt. guidelines,” the statement read.
The tennis body also warned independent entities not to conduct any private tournaments outside the official AITA circuit without its prior permission.
“…Players will be cautioned against participating in any tournament that is not formally sanctioned by AITA and its affiliated units. Such participation may attract disciplinary action,” it said.
“The AITA aims to provide a secure environment to all the participating players, officials and other stakeholders involved during the tournaments and will be circulating an indicative set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).”
The national tennis federation further stated that keeping in view the pandemic situation, participation in the tournaments will be restricted to within the states and “the decision on Inter-district movement will be taken by the respective State Associations’ Presidents/Secretaries, so as to conform to the State Govt. specific guidelines on movement by individuals.”
“The Secretaries of each state affiliate will be requested to issue state-specific customised safety instruction guidelines and SOPs for a safe and secure return to tennis in India,” it concluded.
The shutdown had hit lower tier players badly as they depend solely on prize money earnings.
The AITA had plans to start their domestic circuit meets in July but it didn’t materialise because of constant surge in COVID-19 cases in India.