In this picture from April, 2020, A look down the line of new indoor courts at the Rome Tennis Center shows the pavilion is 99.9% complete and ready for play.

The Rome Tennis Center at Berry College is gearing up for summer tournaments with new social distancing guidelines in place. The center is now working under the direction of the Office of Tourism which was given management responsibilities for the city-owned facility just last month

Office of Tourism Executive Director Lisa Smith has been working closely with the center’s staff to help generate more interest in the complex. A new six-court indoor facility was completed earlier this spring.

“We’re working closely with them as we manage through getting ourselves back in the tournament and tennis playing business,” Smith said. “We’re just out there helping out because we would do that no matter what anyway.”

The facility and tourism department lost the chance to host at least eight tournaments, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Smith and the rest of the department have been working on a recovery program for tourism and the entire hospitality industry in Rome and Floyd County.

“It makes sense, since we are the generators of motel/hotel tax, that we all work together to create a recovery program and how we structure ourselves moving forward,” she said.

Smith and the tennis center staff are looking at different ways to generate additional activity at the facility, such as private lessons, programs, social league and other tennis play.

The next scheduled tournament is the United States Tennis Association National Level 2 Championships running from June 27 through June 30.

The tournament will have some new guidelines for players, coaches and attendees. These include not allowing singles players to share the same bench, only allowing one person in the clubhouse at a time and disinfecting the courts after every match. The center will also have masks available to attendees and anyone else who enters.

“It’s just a new world with a lot of changes and we’re all working together to make it happen,” Smith said. “We want to see our tennis center to be a success.”

Tom Daglis, the original executive director for the tennis center, left the facility a year ago. Collin Cadwell has served as interim director since then. Cadwell said his role is still being defined in the new management model.

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