Tennis During Quarantine


Ethan Chen, Staff Writer

The quarantine and call for social distancing during this time of world-wide distress has affected us all in many different ways – be it work, school, exercise, and daily life in general. Many businesses are struggling to keep their heads out of the water of bankruptcy, and a great number of them have already gone under due to the lack of customers or supply depending on their trade. The sports industry, one of the biggest, has taken heavy blows in all areas. Income that would have been gained through tournament and competition admissions is completely gone, and sports team sponsorships are pulling out to try and preserve their own companies.

Many of the most popular sports have been outright cancelled throughout the world. Group activities such as dancing and kickboxing have been shut down, and sports involving direct contact such as football or soccer as well (understandably). However, one of the biggest debates revolves around quarantine procedures for tennis courts.

Tennis by nature is a sport that involves distance between its players on either side of the court. With the average tennis court measuring around 78 ft. long, many enthusiasts of the sport are arguing for the opening of tennis courts. They argue that due to the distant nature of playing tennis, courts for the sport should remain available to players as well as that of other distant sports, such as pickleball/badminton.

On the other hand, it is also argued that there are indeed instances in which players will come into close contact despite tennis’ natural distance. Players may come together to discuss the match, and tennis balls have an even bigger chance of spreading the virus due to the fact that they will most likely come into contact with multiple players during a match or series of matches.

So, what is the verdict on tennis and tennis tournaments? Different cities are making decisions based on how well the virus has been contained in their area up to this point. With some businesses and the economy starting to be opened again, certain cities such as Palm Springs and Riverside, CA have just begun to reopen their tennis, golf, and pickleball courts. Of course, certain precautions have been put in place to limit contact between different players as much as possible. This includes increased cleaning of courts once they reopen, limits on the number of players that can be in the court at one time, and required reservations by phone in order to use the courts. The use of the courts will also be restricted only to city residents, according to the Palm Springs city council. In terms of private club golf/tennis courts, they will also be allowed to reopen, following similar, albeit more strict guidelines due to the fact that it will be more difficult for the city to enforce the newly instated rules in these club-owned courts.

Other cities are denying the requests to reopen public tennis and recreation courts. In Philadelphia, PA, the city council announced, “We don’t have a playbook for this, so we want to err on the side of safety”, This means that despite the requests for open tennis courts, they will remain closed. The council explains that due to the large number of courts all around Philadelphia, it would simply be too difficult to manage and enforce quarantine procedures for each one in use. As for when courts will reopen, the city is not sure but urges tennis enthusiasts to keep informed with their own city’s news regarding court reopenings and to always make sure to follow the necessary procedures to ensure everyone’s safety when engaging in sports.

The many tournaments that have been postponed are also not sure as to how they will proceed with a tennis competition. One example being the Aussie Open (AO), the national tennis tournament in Australia. They hope for the best in the future, but will not know for sure if there will be an AO at all. However, they have begun discussing plans for a tennis tournament involving minimum present players as well as audience, that will be broadcast live on television. Despite this, no actual plans have been made yet, but the AO committee promises to do their best in trying to host a tournament that will be safe and exciting for everyone. “Let’s try and get things back to normal first, and then we can think about playing sport again”, the committee says.

Photo Courtesy of UTSA.COM