With the Weather Changing, Is Indoor Tennis Safe?
2020 has been a weird and wild year to say the least. From COVID-19 to the Tiger King, I feel like we’ve seen it all this year and then some.
For a lot of you, including myself, tennis has offered an outlet to decompress and get away from all the craziness. For those of you who have been lucky enough to find a court and play this spring, summer, and even fall, you can see why tennis is a great, COVID-19, safe sport. Tennis does not require direct person-to-person contact, allowing players to enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that the sport offers while maintaining six feet of physical distancing. Plus, the ability to be outside running around in nice weather, is an added benefit to one’s mental health during these difficult times of quarantines and stay-at-home orders.
In fact, tennis is so safe that multiple research reports have surfaced in the last several months showing tennis rated as the “safest” of all sports during the pandemic. Physicians and health experts agree that playing tennis carries with it the least amount of risk of any sport, and in fact is safer than most activities you do around the house.
Additionally, Michael Dowse, the CEO and executive director of the United States Tennis Association (USTA) told USA Today that, “Our sport is conducive to social distancing,” Dowse went on to say, “health and safety are paramount and tennis comes second, but once that first box is checked and it’s deemed safe, it’s the perfect sport for all of us to participate in coming out of this pandemic.”
But as the weather turns colder, more people might want to play tennis indoors. Obviously, there’s a little more risk if you’re inside a confined space. So, that begs the question, as the weather gets colder in many parts of the country, is it safe to play tennis indoors? For many players, there are concerns about air flow, player spacing, being in confined spaces like lobbies and locker rooms, plus socialization pre and post match.
We are not medical experts, but we do listen to them and our local health officials. The answer right now basically is, yes, with a few changes, and precautions taken, indoor tennis can be just as safe as outdoor play. For example, many local clubs require the wearing of masks, have implemented a no loitering policy, and have implemented plexiglass to control and protect high trafficked areas. Additionally, many clubs have also added to player safety by removing some items. Water coolers on-court, benches, chairs, score cards, and other common touch points have been removed or drastically reduced to promote player safety inside the club. Additionally, once on the court, indoor tennis still provides a great deal of social distancing.
Lastly, please remember The USTA also asks that you do not play if you or your opponent were in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, are exhibiting any coronavirus symptoms, or are at high risk. By adhering to these simple guidelines, it’s easy to engage in a safe and healthy tennis match, even in COVID-19 times. You can take a look at some other USTA suggestions below (courtesy of the USTA).
(Graphic via USTA)