The Tennis Association of T&T or Tennistt as it is more commonly called, was severely hit by news that the National Racquet Centre (NRC) which falls under its care, was relegated to a step-down facility for COVID-19 patients.
This new development came on Tuesday, amidst a continuing increase in the COVID-19 cases and deaths daily.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Eastern Regional Health Authority (ERHA) issued a release informing members of the public that, effective from Wednesday, the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua, will not be available as a COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Site, thereby sending relief among the tennis fraternity, which had been starved of tennis action.
However, later Tuesday ERHA officials sought to rectify the information by making it clear the facility had been relegated to a step-down facility.
Tennistt, under president Hayden Mitchell, has been working on the overall upgrade of the sport and its stakeholders over the past years, and according to Mitchell, while they have received a blow, they thoroughly support the government's plan during the pandemic.
"The tennis association really do support all the work that the government is doing, we understand that lives and livelihoods come first and that we'll continue to support whatever initiatives that the government and the ministry of health put in place for the citizens of T&T.
"With respect to the plans for Tennistt, it is a blow because we have two things happening as we speak. Right now we're working with the ITF to make here an ITF-certified bronze training centre and part of that certification is for the ITF team to come down to Trinidad and view our facility, audit the facility, audit the systems and processes that we have in place."
According to Mitchell: "While we're able to do some work in the background, whether it's the staffing and creating the policies, a lot of the work has to do with what we have in the facility. So that will hamper or delay it.
"The second thing is that in 2019, we had one of the most successful years in tennis history in terms of hosting events, where we had seven international events hosted down here by tennistt, and you would imagine what that brings in. What we're doing is bringing people down to T&T and we successfully did that in 2019.
"Right now we're creating our calendar of events and the aim of tennistt is to have an international event, whether it's training, whether it is hosting an event, whether it is a national training, all these things, we're going to have events to bring people into T&T every month of the year.
"So I want to imagine how much foreign exchange will be generated by this from the spin-off, talking about sports tourism and all these things.
"So while we do support the government, we do support what is happening, we see the cases rising, on the other side. It means we will have to make alternative plans as far as possible."
On the court of play, Mitchell also said players will get the opportunity to improve their rankings.
"You would have seen the success of a lot of our juniors and that didn't start overnight. It took about four years to get them where they are.
"The way tennis works, is that you must have access to tournaments to increase your rankings, so for instance, by Trinidad hosting tournaments here, we're able to put our junior or seniors right into the main draw and that gives them a chance to improve their world rankings. If they have to go outside, as is normally the case, they would not get into the tournaments and their world rankings would not improve.
"So it's in our best interests to try and host as many tournaments here."