Tennis is the Safest Sport from the Coronavirus

Texas Medical Association Covid 19 Graphic

As Covid-19 swept across the world, organized sports were suspended. Major League Baseball couldn’t start as scheduled in April, and the NBA and NHL were forced to suspend their seasons amidst the push for the playoffs. The prevailing theory was to keep large crowds from assembling to help slow the spread.

As some parts of the country begin to open back up, tennis is uniquely positioned to recapture the hearts of all athletes. In a recent article appearing on, four medical doctors compiled a list of summer time activities and ranked them according to their relative safety with regard to Covid-19. Their two lowest risk activities were getting take out from a restaurant, and you guessed it, playing tennis!


Coronavirus and Tennis Safety

Tennis is a sport with built-in social distancing thanks to it’s 78 feet long by 36 feet wide court size. With a few subtle tweaks tennis can further reduce interactions among the competitors. Even during doubles when four players are on the court they are rarely, if ever, within 6 feet of each other. Contrast that with a local weight room where surfaces are constantly shared by many different people, or a pick-up basketball game where every participant is dribbling the same ball and you can see how the risk if contracting Covid-19 can grow exponentially.

Disinfection of tennis balls close up (VLADIMIR VLADIMIROV / GETTY IMAGES)
Male hand holding tennis ball for disinfection of tennis balls close up (Source: Vladimir Vladimirov/ Getty Images)

Here are some quick tips to stay healthy and safe while playing tennis:

  1. Don’t place your gear too close to permanent court fixtures (water fountain, net, net post, etc.).

  2. Maintain a distance of at-least 6 feet between you and your opponent or your doubles partner. This will help keep a buffer between the players on court, and will keep you at a lower risk. Additionally don’t sit next to your playing partner during the change over.

  3. Don’t pick up tennis balls your hands. The easiest is to trap the ball between your foot and racquet, and flip the ball up to your strings. Or use just your racquet to hit or push the ball to your opponent or partner.

  4. Consider using two different sets of tennis balls, and mark one set with a sharpie. Have one set of tennis balls for yourself and another set for your opponent to make sure you’re not touching the same tennis balls.

  5. Forgo the post match handshake or high five, and go with the racquet tap.


For more information on safe strategies for playing tennis check out our summary of the USTA guidelines.


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