Recreational Tennis Amid Coronavirus?
Update: The USTA released a statement on April 2, 2020 that encourages players to take a pause from tennis play until further notice. Locally, players have been taking additional precautions including wearing masks and gloves, and using only a single personal tennis ball for each server to avoid any surface contact with others. Any ball management is done without using the hands.
The information has been produced based on the latest information available to us by national tennis associations. Following state directive, all tennis clubhouses and similar social facilities should be closed.
Courts, however, can remain open for use to help ensure people remain active, subject to strict social distancing and hygiene practices being employed.
We all know tennis is a unique sport which has many benefits–the main one being health and wellbeing. The government has currently indicated that physical exercise that takes place at a safe distance from others and in safe exercise environments is something that can continue at this time.
Tennis is one of the best examples of social distancing in practice, and so should be encouraged as long as the guidance permits.
Venues (including parks) and coaching providers are all different and operate in different local contexts. They are also independent organizations. Making an assessment of whether a safe exercise environment can be provided also depends on a range of factors, which will apply differently at each venue–each venue and coaching organization will need to make that assessment based on their local environment.
If a venue (including parks) or coaching business decide to continue offering tennis activity (court bookings, pay and play, free play, coached sessions etc.), then tennis activity can take place as long as it is done in a way that is compliant with government advice.
We all have a responsibility to behave in an appropriate way at this time, and so the USTA wanted to provide players with some practical suggestions to help you enjoy safe, recreational play or take part in coached activity during this period:
- Adapting activity to accommodate the advice on social distancing:Activity should be in line with the government’s advised social distancing measures at all times including when arriving to and departing from a court.
- If you are not confident that you can adhere to the social distancing guidance when undertaking tennis activity in doubles format, you should only take part in activity with two players per court.
- Social spaces should be closed and should not be used, including changing and toilet facilities.
Use online booking for courts and sessions where at all possible.
- A buffer period is likely to be implemented between court booking slots to allow time for players to leave before the next players arrive. For walk-on courts, if courts are in use do not wait at the gate and leave adequate space when players depart.
- Activity should only take place where travel to and from the courts can be done in a way compliant with social distancing advice, with players not travelling together unless they are part of a group residing in the same place.
- Players are advised not to change ends during play.
- Avoid close proximity when resting.
- Ensure no physical contact during games – don’t shake hands or high five.
But please still try to have fun and enjoy yourselves!