We’re all waiting for tennis to make a full come-back. However, the question we’re all silently asking and seeking an answer for is, “how will social distance and quarantine rules affect the game we’ve come to love and adore?”
If you’re looking for answers, we may not have all of them. But, what we can guarantee is an in-depth look at the intricacies that’ll affect tennis and the rules that govern the game amidst quarantine.
First, with the help of sports site SportsDomainLab, let’s take a critical look at some of the guidelines set by the ITF (International Tennis Federation) that provide a framework for both national and local competitions. These restrictions are what will guide tennis matches until they’re lifted after the COVID-19 pandemic. They require:
– Singles matches only
– No handshakes between players
– Competitors arriving at competition venues already in full gear
– No spectators during competitions
– Banning of sharing equipment like water bottles, towel, and rackets
– Separate and marked set of balls for each player before the beginning of a match
– Players moving to opposite net sides during game changeovers.
According to the ITF, following these rules and guidelines ensures the risk of infection from COVID-19 transmission reduces. It is, however, clear that playing tennis amidst the quarantine and even with the best tennis balls and equipment comes with risks that can’t be entirely disregarded.
With the ITF guidelines in place, it isn’t clear whether players are fully prepared to follow them, and what action is taken against competitors who purposely breach safety and health protocols. Look at the case of American Danielle Collins. She recently failed to appear for a mandatory COVID-19 test required of her team (Orlando Storm).
This led to her getting banned from the World Team Tennis. Recent developments showed that Collin’s breach of health and safety requirements resulted in her dismissal from the League and, finally, an end of her season with the Orlando Storm.
Danielle Collins faced a backlash from social media concerning her recent clash with Novak Djokovic, World No. 1. Djokovic criticized the U.S Open in plans to limit the competitor’s entourages due to the coronavirus.
This is a sudden twist of irony because, in past comments, she seemed to be in support of protocols put in place by the WTA, ATP, and USTA to put the health of players first. Unfortunately, it appears she didn’t feel the same way with the protocols applied for her safety.
Tennis, however, isn’t only a sport for professional competitors and international tournaments. The USTA (United States Tennis Association) has also provided a set of guidelines for local matches amidst the quarantine.
According to their official website, different states will start playing the game sooner than others but, if guidelines are strictly adhered to, then players can make informed decisions for safe play.
In communities where lock-down recommendations are lifted, the locality should adhere to Federal Guidelines and safety protocols. These rules will ensure that players get the exercise they need while relieving stress and socializing with others.
Fortunately, tennis is one of the few games that doesn’t rely on the player to player contact and the USTA understands the benefits of playing. This is why they encourage players to enjoy the game while at the same time practicing safety recommendations to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.
There’s no doubt that despite quarantine, tennis will make a full come-back. But, as locals enjoy the game, it’s essential to keep physical distance and observe safety regulations recommended by different states.
Competitive players should be on the lookout for injuries that may be brought about by under-training. If you show symptoms of the coronavirus or have been in contact with a person with the virus, do not play. Instead, ensure you keep away from public courts and seek medical attention.