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Anyone For Tennis?

Organisers of under-threat prestige sporting event - The Dorset Open Tennis Championship - believe they have found a way to keep both players and officials CONTRIK-69 safe and are confident that they can rescue the event from what only a few days ago looked like inevitable cancellation. Championship referee Thomas Foote-Fawlte says Dorset Lawn Tennis Association [DLTA] officials have purchased 500 plastic bubbles which they will customise for use by each and every individual involved.

Video impression. DLTA Officials believe the forthcoming Championships may look a little like this. All players and officials will be fully protected and completely isolated before, during and after games. A spokesperson for the RDC labelled the decision to include spectators in the simulation "misleading and fanciful".

The Championship, which has enjoyed an uninterrupted run at its Shapwick base since 1908 [two World Wars and a major explosion at the nearby Threadbone Unnatural Gas Depot could not derail it], was thought to be doomed this year after local council officials, in conjunction with the Royal Dorset Constabulary, had argued it was unsafe to proceed. Fears regarding virus transmission via uncontrolled outdoor ball handling together with public safety concerns surrounding the spread of LDPuOE [long-delayed pent-up over excitement] amongst spectators were thought to trump any claims that proceeding with the event might bring a “hint of normality back into everyday life” - “absolutely the last thing we wanted and something we refuse even to consider at this difficult time”, [Sir Rising Crimewave, Chief Constable.

In another simulation screened at the Press Conference, organisers tried to give an impression of how the player bubbles would work in practice. "In this endeavour they manifestly failed", a sports journalist from the Sydling St Nicholas Sun said.

In addition to acquiring the prophylactic bubbles, the Shapwick-based DLTA [Chair Mrs Amanda J Threadbone] has ordered 300 disposable plastic racquets, 800 dishwasher safe rubber balls and 8 washable face masks for the general committee. "Taken together we believe that these sensible precautions will keep everyone [except for the disposable ball-boys obviously] free of this 100% deadly virus and, in addition, suggest that they stand as testament to our seriousness and willingness to spare no efforts to make sure the Championships take place in a CONTRIK-69 secure environment", Mrs Threadbone said.

Late last year the organisers had agreed that the event - delayed from July 2020 - would take place outdoors in freezing temperatures in February, possibly without spectators and certainly under socially-distanced conditions in which no two individuals would come within 20 yards of each other - even during rallies. "It will unquestionably favour the baseline rather than the serve and volley players - especially those with a long reach and a strong arm". A dispensation from the DLTA has allowed organisers to extend the length of the court to 125 yards. The only outstanding problem remains that of sourcing oval bubbles for use by match umpires. "Those umpires chairs are awfully high in the air and so far we haven't found a bubble tall enough to accommodate them, but we are are working on a modified condom. Adult film star Mynsa Biggun has offered to help create a suitable mould".

In a final simulation, the DLTA tried to explain how they would deal with the problem posed by the challenging elevation of the umpire's chair. Not everyone in the room was convinced.

Whether the event will actually go ahead remains uncertain and depends on final approval from the RDC along with eye-test for all of the competitors ["spotting a serve from 125 yards isn't always easy, especially as it decelerates coming towards you; we are expecting an unusual number of false shots"] - though bookmakers Dorset Casino are quoting 10/1 on last year's men's champion Ivor Wyder-Racquet retaining his crown especially as, thus far, he is the only player to have shown the slightest interest in competing.

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