With the closure of gyms, stadiums and contact sports, we’ve all been left with limited options to fill the sport-shaped hole in our lives.
Yet, as lockdown slowly lifts, there’s one sport that’s proving to be a smash hit around the world. Tennis.
Distanced and non-contact, Tennis is prevailing against the usual favourites like soccer and rugby and has come out on top.
Here’s how Tennis has been granted new lifeblood in the wake of the crisis.
Surging Demand for Courts
A once-popular sport across the world, a study conducted in Australia found the number of tennis playing athletes had dropped by 35% from 2001 to 2016.
However, things are looking up for the racquet-sport.
The Lawn Tennis Association (UK) noted a 372% increase in court bookings from the beginning of May 2020 to the end of July, compared with the same period last year.
And bookings more than doubled in Australia year on year, showing that the surge in demand for courts is happening all over the world.
This revival might be an opportunity for Tennis to rebuild itself and reclaim those dwindling court bookings.
Results for ‘Tennis courts near me’ Jan 2020 – August 2020
These figures are a good sign for the smaller clubs and retailers who may have struggled through the lockdown. And now, bigger retailers are starting to notice an increase in demand for portable nets and introductory equipment.
How to Play Tennis Safely
We’re itching to get back on the court. But we need to do so safely, which means sidelining the Venus to your Serena, aka leave your doubles partner at home.
Here are some other useful tips on how to stay safe on the court:
Arrange to play with people in your household or support bubble
Avoid physical contact, substitute shaking hands for touching racquets
Kick a rogue ball back to its rightful court, don’t pick it up
Take a bottle of water with you and avoid drinking from the water fountain
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Return of the Tournaments
With the re-opening of local courts, some of the bigger tournaments are also serving up their rules for re-opening.
Though Wimbledon has taken a break, other contests have made the decision to go ahead with appropriate safety measures in place.
Roland Garros (22st Sept – 11th Oct) will have spectators, but the crowd will be only 60% of the usual size. And those who are in the stadium will be obliged to wear a mask. More news about the hygiene measures being put in place during the tournament is yet to be released, but we’d expect to see a mass of sanitizer pumps throughout the vicinity.
As it stands the US Open will be held on the 31st Aug behind closed doors.
“The decision to hold the 2020 US Open without fans was not an easy one, but ultimately it was the correct one,” explains Stacey Allaster, US Open Tournament Director. “To mitigate risk, we must minimize numbers on-site. Though we will not have fans on our site, we will engage with tennis fans around the world in new and exciting ways with the help of our global broadcast partners and all our US Open sponsors.”
The decisions that the organisers have made do not come lightly. World No.1, Novak Djokovic, faced a backlash in June after holding a tournament in Croatia, and later testing positive for Covid-19 along with Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki. Andy Murray is now calling for severe sanctions on players who do not abide by the new rules of distanced competitions.
These conditions are true at the time of writing and are subject to change depending on the situation with the pandemic as the tournament approaches.
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