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This is How to Safely Play Tennis this Summer

This is How to Safely Play Tennis this Summer

Some tips for how you can hit the courts while staying safe in the summer of COVID-19.

Earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the go-ahead to allow tennis courts to reopen beginning May 15 because tennis is one of the few sports that people can play while following social distancing guidelines. Since that announcement, tennis courts in Nassau County and Suffolk County have reopened, while Bergen County has “permitted” towns or businesses to reopen their tennis courts. New York City tennis courts, as well as Westchester County's courts at Tibbetts Brook Park are still closed.  

Before hitting the courts, players should take the utmost precautions to ensure they are not inadvertently spreading the coronavirus. Here are a few tips for playing tennis safely during this pandemic, according United States Tennis Association's recommendations. 

Should I play tennis right now?

There is a natural tendency to be nervous before going out for a public activity right now. If playing tennis is something that brings you comfort and you are willing to take the necessary precautions to do it safely, go for it. If not, play when you are ready. Your family’s safety is what’s most important right now. Athletics like tennis can be an opportunity to be active and release tension or stress, as long as you are willing to take the steps needed to play safely. 

What to Know Before You Go

Check to make sure that your town’s courts are open or if courts are closed. Of course, only play tennis if you are showing no symptoms. For now, only play with immediate family members you’ve been quarantining with or friends or family who are low risk. 

In terms of equipment, make sure your racket, water bottle, and clothing are disinfected. Do not share equipment (especially water bottles!) with anyone. Bring your own sleeve of tennis balls and do not share under any circumstances at this time. To help differentiate between other players, bring a distinct color, or put a mark on your tennis balls. Also, bring hand sanitizer so you can clean your hands on the court. 

How to Stay Safe While Playing Tennis

This may be difficult, but avoid touching tennis balls with your hands when possible. You can kick tennis balls to each other or lift them with your foot and then hit it over to your opponent. When taking a water break, maintain proper social distance from your opponent. Try to stay on the same side of the court during your match to avoid coming in contact with your opponent. Doubles play is not permitted in most counties that are open, but if it is allowed, avoid coming in contact with your partner. 

As far as other players are concerned, different counties have different rules. For example, Nassau County has groups using every other court to ensure reasonable space between each court. Kick or hit another party’s tennis balls back to them if one should roll over onto your court.

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When the Game is Over

Avoid lingering around the facility after your game is over, try to leave as quickly and as reasonably as possible without disturbing or interacting with other games. Make sure to wash your hands and disinfect your equipment – at your home. If your tennis court has a locker room of any kind, do not use it.  

Other Tips for Safely Playing Tennis

  • Do not forget to take basic precautions before taking the court. Check the weather, bring sunblock
  • The USTA recommends players ease back into playing because of possible long layoffs between matches. You wouldn’t want to strain any muscles or get injured in your first post-quarantine match. 
  • Being able to do any normal activity is a gift right now, but do not jump back into playing the way you did pre-COVID-19. Stopping the spread of the coronavirus is an ongoing situation that will not end until people properly follow state guidelines. 

If you are unsure about specific rules, contact your local government and ask for more information about playing tennis. 

For more information, go to the USTA website for more guidelines.

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Patrick Gunn

Author: Patrick Gunn is a summer intern at Davler Media Group/NYMetroParents and rising senior at Syracuse University. He also contributes regularly for the Yankee blogs Start Spreading the News and Pinstripe City and enjoys a good film. See More