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Let’s get back to the fun of tennis
As the Covid-19 virus continues to have a major impact on all of our lives, the organized tennis world has come to a screeching halt. Professional tournaments and events have been canceled. The USTA has put events and leagues on hold. Clubs and facilities have locked their courts to keep players from gathering. And many in this industry are wondering how our sport will be able to come back from this.
From my perspective as a tennis provider, this situation may have a silver lining for tennis. Recent headlines from the world stage have Roger Federer and Billie Jean King both speaking out about merging the men’s and women’s pro tours, while Novak Djokovic predicts the tennis season will restart with regional events. These ideas may create a more efficient and better product for all fans.
In the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic has been the impetus for the USTA, USPTA, PTR, TIA, ITA and other groups to get together to form “Tennis Industry United,” with a mission to analyze the needs and concerns of all and work together to provide immediate and long-term support. The upper levels of the sport are changing their way of thinking, and I hope that even after we get past this crisis, this group will continue to work together for the benefit of the game.
People play tennis for many reasons, such as competition, exercise and social interaction. But whatever the reason, the common denominator is that it’s fun. For some, the thrill of competition is their way of having fun. For others, the fun comes from that feeling they get of having endorphins kick in from the exercise they get on the court. And for many, it’s the social aspects of tennis that provide fun, and friends.
As tragic as coronavirus is, for tennis, this can be an opportunity to reset and get back to local play—to get back to the fun and enjoyment of hitting a ball on court, for the sheer joy of it. We need to re-emphasize and re-energize local play. And we need to focus on the fun, healthy benefits tennis can provide.
Larry Haugness has been involved at all levels of tennis for 45 years and has been recognized for his achievements by the USTA, USPTA, PTR and TIA.
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