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Tennis center re-opens

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

For more than two months, the courts at the Ann & Doc McCluskey Tennis Complex were silent.

The tennis center, along with all of the other Troup County Parks & Recreation facilities, was shut down on March 13 because of the coronavirus.

On Monday morning, though, the familiar sound of balls colliding with rackets could be heard once again as the tennis center re-opened.

Changes have been made to lessen the physical risks to anyone using the facility, and the hours won’t return to normal for a few weeks, but the center is nonetheless open once again.

“We’re doing like a two-week soft opening where the hours are a little bit shorter,” said Bill Champion, the head professional of the tennis center. “We’ll stay open until 7 instead of 8 or 9, and we’re closing at 3 on Saturday and Sunday, just so we can kind of tell what we need to do different, and kind of monitor things. After two weeks, we’ll expand the hours back to normal summer hours.”

Champion added that “we really don’t know what to expect. If we have to change something, we will. I’m just glad we’re open.”

Anyone wanting to use the tennis center right now can call for a reservation, and Champion expects the courts to start filling up as the days go by.

“Some people are waiting,” Champion said. “This Saturday will be interesting to see what happens.”

In addition to requiring reservations for anyone wanting to play tennis, Champion said some other changes have been made as well.

“We’re doing a lot of stuff,” Champion said. “We took out the water coolers. There’s no public water. The students can not pick up the tennis balls from the hoppers. The pros have to pick up the balls, and put them in the hoppers. We took off the scoreboards, so people don’t touch them.”

Also, the chairs upstairs next to the pro shop have been spaced further apart, and the outside bleachers have been removed.

“We’ll try to do our part so we can stay open,” Champion said.