LEDBURY'S tennis club has welcomed back its first players since the coronavirus lockdown.

Following the easing of lockdown restrictions, tennis clubs can see outdoor matches return, though indoor tennis and badminton remain a way off.

For players in Ledbury though, last weekend's sunny weather provided a welcome return to action.

Club member David Murdoch said: "It has been a real joy to meet up with fellow players again to enjoy this most sociable activity in such glorious surroundings.

"The great thing here is how welcoming the club is to new people, whatever their age or ability.

"Outdoor tennis is particularly well aligned with the current government guidelines, as it is played in a naturally socially distanced way, with only two or four players, and all the space and fresh air anyone could wish for."

Meanwhile, the game's governing body has called for the return of indoor tennis, saying it is no difference to being in a shop or other indoor location.

A spokesman for the Lawn Tennis Association said: "The LTA is disappointed that the Government has decided that socially distanced individual sports like tennis and badminton are unable to resume indoors for adults from different households under the Step 2 restrictions.

"From this same date, individuals will be able to circulate in proximity in shops and other indoor locations, however they will not be able to play singles tennis.

"While we understand the priority needs to remain on preventing the spread of the virus, we believe that tennis is a fundamentally safe and naturally socially distanced activity in comparison to a trip to the shops or hairdressers, with it taking place on a court of over 500 metres-squared with a net as a physical barrier between players.

"Preventing adult indoor singles from taking place is therefore an unnecessary restriction at a time when every extra week that venues can book out courts will help them repair some of the damages to their finances they have experienced through the pandemic, and when the importance of the nation getting back to being active has never been greater.

"The LTA remains in dialogue with the Government and has requested that the decision be reviewed to ensure that singles tennis for adults can resume indoors as soon as possible, in line with other leisure activities."

For children and adults who would like to come and find out if tennis is something they might enjoy, Ledbury Tennis Club will be hosting two special open mornings, on Saturday May 1 and Saturday May 8.

Club chair Ann Hume said: "These taster sessions are free to attend and no experience or tennis racket is required

"All you need is suitable footwear such as trainers or tennis shoes."

Children aged 4 to 16 will play from 10 to 11am and over 16s and adults from 11am to 12 noon.

Social distancing will be observed both on and off court and places must be booked in advance via the club’s website: (clubspark.lta.org.uk/ledburytennisclub/Events) or phone Ann on Ledbury 632927.