Tennis is counting its lucky stars with local club competitions allowed to resume this week and Wagga's major summer juniors comp to go ahead next month.
But the region's most prestigious tennis tournament, the Riverina Open, is a casualty of COVID-19 with the annual October event again unable to go ahead.
"Unfortunately tournaments are off. Tennis Australia has banned Australian ranking tournaments until November, so we can't run our Riverina Open from October 1," Wagga Tennis Centre's Tom Denahy said.
"That's our biggest annual tournament with players from Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and that's off for the second year in a row. But the local club competitions are okay, with people from within the local government area able to play."
Last week's lifting of the lockdown in some regional areas was a false dawn for a lot of sport, with community sport broadly off-limits.
However, tennis - like golf - is more fortunate than many, benefitting from natural physical distancing and permitted as exercise even during lockdowns in NSW.
"Ever since COVID started, our court bookings have probably quadrupled," Denahy said, with online bookings and contactless access proving popular.
"So it's a sport people can do. You only need two people to play the game. Golf's the same. And you can stay separated. It's not like footy or netball or indoor sports like basketball.
"I'm seeing a lot of new faces. A lot families, young couples, people looking for something other than a walk around the lake.
"But people are just busting to get back and play comp. Now that the lockdown has been lifted, we had our Monday night ladies start back up, about 50 players playing at our Wednesday mixed comp.
"And Thursday night we've got singles pennants, with all the courts booked out. We've got 34 very enthusiastic blokes playing."
Most of the competitions were due to start three weeks ago but weren't allowed until the release of the Riverina and other regional areas last Thursday and a clarification from the state body on Friday.
"We got an email from Tennis NSW saying that local club competition can resume and doubles play can resume," said Denahy, who also double-checked the regulations with authorities.
The popular Saturday morning junior competition will run from mid-October through to Easter, offering a sporting outlet for up to 160 children on the courts throughout the day while Thursday night juniors will also get underway after the school holidays.
More information on Wagga Tennis is available at the Southern Sports Academy website.
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