Tennis: The least risk of all
Many of us have seen versions of a chart that ranks 36 activities by COVID-19 risk levels. That chart was generated by interviews with Michigan state public health experts, who assessed the risks posed by various popular or everyday activities on the transmission of the virus. (See the article here. You can also find color-coded versions of this in chart form in various places on the internet.)
The doctors interviewed pointed to five factors when considering how risky a particular activity might be: 1) whether it’s inside or outside; 2) proximity to others; 3) exposure time; 4) the likelihood of compliance; and 5) personal risk level. The list they came up with assigned a score (based on an average of scores by each health expert) for each of the 36 activities, with 10 being the riskiest and 1 the least risky.
Well, for tennis players, providers and enthusiasts, this ranking by doctors affirmed what we already knew, and have been talking about, for months now: Tennis ranked at Risk Level 1—the lowest risk level of any of the other activities. (The only other activity that also ranked at Risk Level 1 is “getting takeout from a restaurant.”)
This is news that all tennis providers should be spreading throughout their communities, as people who have been physically distancing for the last three months look to get back to being active. And a big key with tennis, though, is that while it’s easy to maintain physical distance, it still is a social sport.
In the new reality of our world, this is also something that will probably be increasingly important in the future, even well beyond this current pandemic. People, especially parents and seniors, will look for these “safe” sports and activities that are naturally physically distant and can easily keep people from spreading or catching any sort of virus.
Couple this with the news yesterday that the US Open will be played this year, and you have a great week for our sport. Government officials, health experts, civic organizations, companies, parents, school officials—everyone seems to recognize how important this sport can be in keeping people healthy and active. That fact that it’s fun to play is just another bonus.
We all need to promote to both players and the community overall—especially non-players—that tennis carries the least risk of pretty much any activity out there. It will help grow your own business, and keep this sport and industry vital.
Peter Francesconi is the editor of Racquet Sports Industry magazine.