Updated: Jun 8, 2020
How do you play tennis safely in a new normal time when virus spread is an issue?
Of course right now when we are trying to isolate the COVID-19 (Corona ) virus it is best to avoid large gatherings of people to stop spread as much as possible and protect the sickest among us.
But what do we do after when trying to get back to a “new normal” and still want to enjoy the sport?
Tennis itself is an isolating sport -it’s usually just you against somebody else across the court, unless you are playing doubles. Tennis clinics and leagues do present a problem for community spread of airborne viruses. Therefore, there are some very simple ways that you can stay safe playing tennis in the face of communicable diseases such as the seasonal flu, coronavirus, Norovirus, etc.
The first, most obvious way to prevent spread is to hit against wall or invest in a ball machine. At this moment in time, this is our safest approach.
One great way to prevent community spread of these diseases is to play singles or take a one-on one private lesson. This will stop any short distance spreading of the virus from hand touching and talking especially when discussing double strategy with your partner so close to you. The next best way to avoid spread is to be playing outside. Now in the winter time this is hard however when I was in high school and college we would often practice as long as the temperature was about 40° F. so it is possible.
The biggest question that I get asked about the spread of viruses is that doesn’t it hold on to the fibers of the tennis ball. This is different for every virus because every virus will behave differently on different surfaces. However one great way to isolate your tennis balls is for you and your opponent to both bring a can or a hopper of tennis balls and make sure that all the balls in your hopper are of one brand and all the balls in your opponents hopper of another brand or number. When you play you will only touch your tennis balls and if they land on either side of the Court then your opponent will just use their rackets to send them back to your side or just feed the tennis balls in one hopper at a time and the person who feeds then picks up and visa versa- if you want to serve it does work much better the fewer tennis balls you use because the less confusion and the less spread. Carrying hand sanitizer in your bag should be routine even in times of no viral threat. Be sure to bring water from home. If you use benches, either ask your club to provide sanitizing wipes for before/ after use or bring your own.
For COVID-19 (Corona) virus : You should be drinking plenty of water- not soda- WATER. For everyday people not exercising it is recommended a drink of water every 15 minutes. So if you are playing tennis make sure you bring the big jug with you and hydrate hydrate hydrate! Outside play is best as to keep the air circulating, do not share towels/water/etc, wipe benches, do not use demo racquets( if you insist make sure to take the overgrip off, wipe down the racquet then put a new over grip on). When going to the net to shake hands, touch racquets instead. These are all small things in and of themselves but can make a big difference. Happy hitting!