Tuesday 23 June 2020

Clapham Common Tennis: Special Covid19 Report

We at Lineball Tennis, primarily coach Krishna and perennial past potential clients, based at Clapham Common tennis courts entered covid19 lockdown from 23 March, and came out to play on the tennis courts on 14th May 2020.

Everyone will have stories of the time that passed between those dates as "interesting", to say the least! Even in the "new normal" there is an air of hope expectancy filled with anxiety. And rightly so! Full tennis lockdown ended officialy in London and nationwide, as announced in the daily briefings from Downing Street, on Monday of the week, that tennis would again be permitted with "social-distancing" covid19 restrictions on Wednesday 13th May 2020.

Whether Lambeth Council and outsource GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) organisations, responsible for the Clapham Common tennis facility (near the now defunct bowling-greens), are superstitious, bureacratic or simply late, LineBall principal Krishna kicked-off tennis one day later than at his private nearby tennis club Grafton LTC. Where he played his old neigbourhood friend on synthetic clay surface, on lucky for some day 13th of May.

Talking of "old neighbour" we have  the familiar former speaker of the House of Parliament John Bercow visiting Clapham Common tennis facility. He plays tennis with his son in the early morning, "2/3 times a week" as he suggested. How pleasant and lively the fellow in person, as he was as controversial personnae and charisma in his function as leader of Parliament's proceedings by Members of Parliament - MPs. Mr Bercow has been spotted as local "celebrity" by others too. Next time LineBall Tennis might offer coaching services to JB!

Mentioning politics, your local tennis coach and long-time resident Krishna is involved in struggle to book rare tennis-court slots at the venue. The mentioned GLL online-booking he is subjected to is unwieldy to the flexible needs of the excessive number of tennis coaches at Clapham Common Westside. Under tennis-coach licensing guidelines brought in by Lambeth Council, Krishna was registered as "the last tennis coach" by the then Council officer Trevor East. Yet there are newer coaches since him operating on premises all the time! This is report-worthy, as Krishna cannot book the court, hours or times for his perennial customers needs currently. Explained by the Council's management on enquiry: since GLL phone-booking staff furloughed, only online booking system available (more on this dysfunctional system). Maybe you had similar online tennis-court booking difficulties? (Thus far unexplained, is how Julian Cousin's is continuing to block-book his courts 4 and 5, for his business practice. We will ask ask Council for what obligation they have to him).

On other tennis-client news during pandemic times we have Cyprien emerging as self-proclaimed "God" by outpacing his tennis-grouping adversaries in matchplay. In one-to-one matchplay of points while rotating with adversaries he displayed winning confidence. The other compatriots Oscar, Augustine and Cameron challenging Cyprien seem over-awed by his vivid exhuberance! Cyprien, however has been playing weekly with his friends then brothers for over five years, and sometimes daily for tennis-camps with LineBall Tennis.

Also, noteworthy is the emergence of another two junior tennis stars who initially started playing in a private group with LineBall Tennis when only 4/5 years olds, Maxime and Vasu. They are now 7/8 YOs. They played a  doubles match on opposing sides in the mini-court (the 4 service boxes) on Monday 15th June. Maxime playing with new "wild-talent lefty" Raphael. And Vasu playing with also new LBT player, the all-round talent Gabriel. The encounter was significant as they all engaged totally in the competition. Demonstrated by nerves showing on tentativeness of shots from experienced Maxime and Vasu. The cool-head player was Gabriel. This competition then extended to full-court as the juniors wished. Of little significance at this stage, was the result, which was won by Vasu and Gabriel.