Tennis, which originated in England in the late 19th century under the name of Lawn Tennis, is bidding for a rebirth in South Africa by spearheading the return of active sport in the country following the all-encompassing shutdown implemented by the government as part of the lockdown to contain the deadly coronavirus.
This has emerged with the announcement by controlling body Tennis South Africa (TSA) that it was holding discussions with the Department of Sport aimed at a return of recreational and more serious, but still non-tournament tennis to the courts around the country.
TSA points out that unlike team sports like soccer, rugby and cricket, this can be done without infringing the tough rules and procedures set out in the battle to contain the current pandemic.
Firstly singles tennis - but not doubles - can take place with a stipulated two players on the court and serves the purpose of providing a degree of physical exercise the government's rules seemingly indicate to be beneficial as the nation struggles to imprint a degree of normalcy following the introduction of Phase 4 of the lockdown.
Also, with this stipulation in effect, a limited amount of coaching can be implemented to ease the considerable financial burden on the considerable band of tennis coaches throughout the country, who are almost entirely self-employed and presently out of work.
The hardy army of wheelchair tennis players, who are inactive, would also receive some respite as they battle to overcome the odds.
The tennis hierarchy, however, concedes they are not alone in seeking a relaxation to the current restrictions, with golf, for example, also putting a case forward - while facing the additional factor surrounding caddies, whose modest remunerations have presently been halted.