Joanne Heath says she plans to hit the tennis courts in Central Saanich every day since they reopened last week. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

Tennis players welcome the chance to get back into the swing of things

Courts across Greater Victoria have reopened over the past week

If running was the sport of choice during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, tennis is among the early candidates to experience a boom as the province lifts restrictions.

It is easy to see why officials would allow outdoor tennis courts to be among the first recreation facilities to open. Tennis not only allows individuals to exercise outdoors, but the very nature of the game creates physical distance between players.

Tennis courts across Greater Victoria have been the among the first recreation facilities to reopen.

This serves Joanne Heath just fine as she was spending part of her Tuesday morning hitting balls at Central Saanich’s Centennial Park. It was her first time on a real court in at least two months.

“It’s wonderful,” she said as she picks up the tennis balls lying scattered across the court. One court over, four women were wrapping up their doubles games. “It has been a long time. It feels like forever. It’s lovely.”

When Heath could not hit the courts during the peak of the pandemic, she practised off a school wall. “But that doesn’t compare to actually being on the court,” she said. During the past few weeks, she has also been following the news to see when the provincial government, specifically provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, might give the go-ahead. “Is she going to talk about tennis? Is she going to talk about opening up parks again? So that was a huge focus. Tennis is really important for me.”

RELATED: COVID-19 has given running a boost

Heath started playing tennis when she was child, then stopped for many years as she raised her children, only to resume playing about 15 years ago.

“That is my life, tennis,” she said. Heath not only missed the physical activity, but also the social aspect. “You have a lot of extra time on your hand. What do I do?”

During her forced time away from the court, Heath found herself moving back to Central Saanich from Pender Island. “And I was staying with my son and his wife, and they have a four-year-old and an 18-month-old. So I was grandma. I was on duty. So yeah, it is lovely to get out here, as much as I love my grandchildren.”

Tuesday morning was not without its frustrations. “First time out, I expected it to be perfect,” she said. “It’s not, which is a little upsetting. But I will be back every day from now on.”


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