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Playing Tennis Safely: Player Tips and Recommendations

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The USTA recognizes that the coronavirus continues to affect the country in different ways and that it is possible for people to return to playing tennis indoors and outdoors under a number of different state and local government requirements as well as state and local government health authority guidelines. Because playing tennis does not require direct person-to-person contact, tennis players can enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that tennis offers while maintaining six feet of physical distancing. By following the applicable requirements in your area, facility guidelines as well as the guidelines outlined below, you will be able to make informed decisions.

 

Follow health and safety guidelines issued by your state and local government and health authorities. Stay current with guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

BEFORE YOU PLAY

 

  • Make sure that your state and region allow tennis play, satisfy the Federal Government’s gating criteria (as outlined in the “Opening Up America Again” guidelines) and has been designated an essential business and/or has entered Phase One of the Phased Comeback.
  • States and regions with no evidence of a rebound and that satisfy the gating criteria a second time may proceed to Phase Two of the Phased Comeback, in which all individuals, when in public recreation areas, should maximize physical distance from others. 
  • Be aware that although restrictions are eased when your state and region move from Phase One to Phase Two or Phase Three of the Phased Comeback, safety precautions must remain in place until there is a universal vaccine or effective treatment for the coronavirus.
  • The USTA Medical Advisory Group highly recommends competitive players ease their way back into play prior to competition. Given the layoff from competing, players will be more susceptible to under-training, over-use and other injuries. The USTA strongly recommends at least three weeks of on court and off court conditioning before competition begins.
  • Arrange to play only with family members or others who live in your household or with individuals who are considered to be low risk.

 

WHEN PLAYING

 

  • Try to stay at least six feet apart from other players. Do not make physical contact with them (such as shaking hands or a high five).
  • You should consider not playing doubles, which could lead to incidental contact and unwanted proximity. If you do play doubles, avoid all incidental contact, NO Bryan Brothers Chest Bumps and NO whispering to each other from a close distance to strategize. 
  • Avoid touching your face after handling a ball, racquet or other equipment. Wash your hands promptly if you have touched your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid sharing food, drinks or towels.
  • Use your racquet/foot to pick up balls and hit them to your opponent. Avoid using your hands to pick up the balls.
  • Stay on your side of court. Avoid changing ends of the court.
  • Remain apart from other players when taking a break. 
  • If a ball from another court comes to you, send it back with a kick or with your racquet.

 

AFTER PLAYING

 

  • Leave the court as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitizer after coming off the court.
  • Do not use the locker room or changing area. Shower at home. 
  • No extra-curricular or social activity should take place. No congregation after playing. 
  • All players should leave the facility immediately after play.

 

USE FOUR BALLS OR SIX BALLS

 

Although unlikely, it’s possible that a tennis ball can transmit the COVID-19 virus, as virtually any hard surface can transmit the disease. So here is an extra precaution you can take to keep safe when playing tennis:

 

  • Open two cans of tennis balls that do not share the same number on the ball. 
  • Take one set of numbered balls, and have your playing partner take a set of balls from the other can.
  • Proceed with play, making sure to pick up your set of numbered balls only. Should a ball with the other number wind up on your side of the court, do not touch the ball with your hands. Use your racquet head or feet to advance the ball to the other side of the court.