State Farm E Town Open

ETC Hosts Annual State Farm Etown Open

By:  Karen Henson

    The Elizabethtown Tennis Commission has hosted the E-town Open tournament for 27 years.  That streak was threatened with the COVID-19 pandemic.  With USTA lifting their sanction of all events the beginning of June and the state allowing youth competition to begin back up in late June, city officials and the health department gave the okay to host the tournament on July 4th weekend -- with safety precautions in place.  The health and safety of the players, spectators, and volunteers led to many changes being implemented this year.  

First, the number of volunteers was reduced, and most of the volunteers were members of the commission.  For example, in years’ past, t-shirts were handed out as players checked in at one central location.  This year, volunteers stuffed the t-shirts in with the goody bags provided to players, and players received them at the site of their first match.  This alleviated some of the congestion of players at one location. Volunteers also wore gloves and masks when they were not able to keep the 6 feet social distancing guideline.   

Also, players were notified that there would be no seating on or around the courts, no water/snacks provided, and no score posts all in an effort to reduce contact and prevent time to sanitize common areas.  When a player checked in at the site of their first match of the day, they were asked a series of health questions related to common symptoms and their temperature was taken.  Luckily, all players passed the test.  The commission also utilized the USTA guideline of giving each player 2 balls with his/her initials on them again to reduce contact and spread of any germs.  

With this being one of the first tournaments available to juniors and adults after the quarantine, the commission was uncertain as to how the participation might be affected with the health concerns as well as with the holiday weekend.  While some usual names were not on the list of entries this year, many new players from around the state as well as from out of state decided to play.  The tournament once again had about 175 participants, which is right about average over the past several years.  The tournament boasted players in 21 divisions with approximately 150 matches.  All of the players and spectators were very cooperative and supportive of the precautions in place, and they were all glad to be a part of competitive tennis once again!!