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Wimbledon, semifinalist and US Open doubles player Roger Taylor, 78, returns to the field

Wimbledon semi-finalist and US Open doubles champion Roger Taylor, 78, back on the field at his wife’s club with marked balls, hand sanitizer and 10 minute buffer between slots

  • At 8:30 a.m., Roger Taylor went to his wife Alison’s tennis club to pick up a racket
  • Taylor, 78, was a two-time Wimbledon semi-finalist and a US Open double champion
  • Alison’s club has marked balls, hand sanitizer, and buffers between slot machines

England’s tennis courts came alive on Wednesday morning – and occupying the very first slot at its local club was one of Britain’s best post-war players.

At 8:30 a.m., Roger Taylor, now 78 but twice a Wimbledon semi-finalist and US Open double champion, walked out to play at Westside, just down the south-west London road from the All England club, which remained closed.

Taylor still regularly uses a racket and was immediately looking for a hit in the thriving 700-member operation, where his wife Alison is the head coach.

Roger Taylor, now 78, was twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon and doubled the US Open champion

Roger Taylor, now 78, was twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon and doubled the US Open champion

Wednesday morning he was at his wife Alison's club in South West London and she revealed they are marking balls to avoid contamination by picking each other up

Wednesday morning he was at his wife Alison's club in South West London and she revealed they are marking balls to avoid contamination by picking each other up

Wednesday morning he was at his wife Alison’s club in South West London and she revealed they are marking balls to avoid contamination by picking each other up

The reopening was the result of 48 hours of hectic work by her and other club employees, following the Prime Minister’s Sunday speech.

While Britain’s elite players were looking for a place to exercise, there was an almost festive atmosphere among those playing for recreation after their hobby was refused for nearly two months.

She described the return as a mix of happiness and relief, combined with the harsh entrance of things like removing furniture to meet social distance rules.

Alison (right) took 48 hours to open the club so play could resume on the field

Alison (right) took 48 hours to open the club so play could resume on the field

Alison (right) took 48 hours to open the club so play could resume on the field

“We were a bit unclear on Sunday evening, but on Monday, when they said two people from outside a household could play, we were really getting ready,” Alison said.

“We’ve removed all the banks so no one can get together. We ask people to arrive just before their lock. There is a 10 minute buffer between each right time so they don’t cross.

“We provide hand sanitizer and we always have someone on hand to organize things. We mark the balls, so when I play with a friend we pick up our own balls. We spray them after every session.

‘I’m going to see how wearing a mask is in coaching, but keeping the distance is the most important thing.

“We allow duplicates among family members.”

This was an anxious time for clubs and their independent coaches. Alison praised the £ 95 per week fee to coaches of the Lawn Tennis Association, and her club was also impressed by the efficiency of the government’s emergency grant scheme, which has slowed them down.

Alison says the club removed banks to stop municipalities and provide hand sanitisation

Alison says the club removed banks to stop municipalities and provide hand sanitisation

Alison says the club removed banks to stop municipalities and provide hand sanitisation

“The feeling is happiness and relief,” she said. ‘It is good for people’s physical and mental health. It’s very important for some of our members, just going out to do something they love. ‘

Westside was out of the blocks faster than its more illustrious neighbor in SW19, as Wimbledon won’t be open to members until Saturday, and then with only three non-lawns available to play.

The National Tennis Center in Roehampton hoped to get permission Wednesday night to open on Thursday or Friday. With players across the country, GB Davis Cup players Ken and Neal Skupski enjoyed a first hit together at Liverpool’s Palmerston Tennis Club.

Plans are still being developed for events in the UK. Barry Fulcher, director of the independent Progress Tour, announced on Wednesday that they will host a closed British women’s championship, with the location and date yet to be determined.

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