Coronavirus has swept the nation (rightfully so!) and has led to social distancing which is a little less harsh than the full quarantine we have been in for the past 2 months. Only issue is that what is social distancing? and how does it affect tennis? Here we break it down for you and in case you are nervous to scroll further, don't worry - playing tennis falls within the safety precautions of social distancing!
What is social distancing?
Social distancing is defined by the John Hopkins Institute as limiting contact with others which includes no hugging or kissing, washing hands frequently, not partaking in groups of 50 or larger, maintaining a distance of 6 feet apart, and trying to meet with people in well ventilated spaces like the outdoors. Social distancing can of course include staying at home - however, really staying at home is self quarantining and is important in the coming few weeks but afterwards is really most necessary if you are feeling sick in any way.
Is it safe to play tennis?
While tournaments like Indian Wells which has large crowds has been cancelled along with leagues run by the USTA until April 20th, outdoor tennis courts at parks are up and running. The reason for this is because tennis naturally allows people to be with others while maintaining all of the social distancing guidelines - the most evident one being maintaining a distance of around 6 feet apart and is naturally not a high contact sport.
How to play tennis in an age of social distancing?
So we've established that it can be safe to play recreationally while social distancing according to The Department of Culture, Media, & Sports but that doesn't mean everything goes back to the same.
For starters - it is only deemed safe to play outdoor tennis and to play singles as it's the only social distance friendly way to play this sport so say by to doubles atleast for the next few months.
If you are playing a match we recommend resisting the urge to shake the opponent's hands or to give your friend a hug when first meeting.
Then there are the balls which are hitting the ground and may have been coughed on. We recommend either using fresh balls each time or if you are re-using balls to put them back in your can so that they are contained. Also marking balls is key so that you try to only pick up your own balls instead of your partner's balls. According to the USTA they recommend numbering & initials on your balls to keep it safe.
During water breaks is your time to sanitize your hands before touching your face given that you have been touching tennis balls that are hitting the ground.
Stocking up on grips to frequently replace is highly recommended as well as wiping down your bag once you are back in your apartment or house.
Lastly, if you are sick you shouldn't be playing with others and should stay at home to get yourself better and once you are better you should be safe to hit it back on the court!
Please note that these are tips and tricks brought to you by the team here and our team encourages everyone to go to Center of Disease for Disease and Control Prevention's site as it does hav all of the most up to date information. Also be sure to consult recommendations from your local health department, as the impact of the virus varies considerably by locality. At Break the Love, your health and safety is our number one priority so if you have any questions or need any help getting outdoors to play, do reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org and our team will do our best to help