Match Point: How Tennis Became A Popular Sport In The Time Of COVID-19

bouncing tennis ball

Sports have proven to play an integral role in community building. It helps to bring people together, whether you’re a competitive participant or an appreciative spectator. Being more than just a game, sports provide an avenue for countless individuals to hone their skills, personality, and identity.

Investing in sporting facilities and hosting sporting events can significantly drive community participation. Unfortunately, due to the outbreak of a global pandemic in the previous year, several physical activities were largely discouraged.

All In The Swing

One particular sport, however, saw an unexpected boom in 2020: tennis. Tennis is widely recognized as one of the most popular sports globally, with millions of participants and spectators, both for recreation and competition.

This mostly individual, non-contact sport saw a rise in popularity during the pandemic. The sales of entry-level rackets in the previous year went up by 40.9%. More racket purchases can only suggest one thing: more people have begun to get into the sport.

Participation in tennis also observed 49.33% when comparing the figures between the third quarters of 2019 and 2020. This sudden surge can be attributed to several factors, from how the sport is set up to the governing bodies that regulate it.

Wide Courts

What exactly made this sport so popular in the time of COVID-19? One thing that stands out is how tennis can significantly limit players’ close interactions due to its style of play. You have the expansiveness of tennis courts to thank for that.

When people are looking to keep their physical, social, and even mental health up while being able to practice the necessary health and safety protocols, tennis was the way to go. The sport can literally be played anywhere as long as a net stands in the middle to divide opposing players.

Tennis courts are often found in open, outdoor areas, which significantly reduces the virus’s risk of transmission. However, this also means that these courts are exposed to the natural elements making tennis court maintenance for communities a regular task.

There are 4 general types of surfaces for tennis courts, namely: hard, clay, grass, and synthetic. Each of these surfaces offers its own benefits to a person’s playing style. More importantly, there is also a wide difference in how to preserve each court’s condition.

Big Serves

Aside from the playing field, tennis can also provide a good full-body workout for any player. It takes more than just swinging a ball over to the other side of the court. You also have to think about how to angle your shots and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses.

The sport is indeed open to players of all skill levels, but the physical and even mental demands of tennis are no small matter. Take into consideration the weight of the racket, the power of your swing, and how your shot will be received.

There are a lot of factors to worry about within a single rally. A lot of people have likened it to playing chess-on-the-go. Regardless, it’s a fun way to get out of the house and socialize with the people in your community while getting some physical activity in.

The United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) player tips and recommendations for playing the sport within the context of a global pandemic was also a big help. This shows how much the governing body of tennis trusts in the sport’s effectiveness of being safe to play despite COVID-19.

tennis preparing to serve

Sports, Community, and COVID-19

COVID-19 changed every bit of our day-to-day lives. It forced us all to stay-at-home and do our daily operations virtually. Suffice it to say, the impacts of the global pandemic on sports is substantial. Not only did it hinder physical activities, but it also impeded opportunities for community building and social development.

Understandably, the lockdowns and safety guidelines were implemented to safeguard everyone’s health. Fortunately, with the discovery and development of a vaccine, these measures are slowly beginning to ease.

As the world slowly recovers from the unfortunate events of 2020, it’s also important to consider how to safely re-open and re-introduce certain sports to the public. Allowing individuals to be able to partake in sports is crucial to community building.

More importantly, people will never stop yearning for sports. The sudden surge of tennis despite a global pandemic is proof of that. The physical, social, and mental benefits of these events have become more important than ever. As long as the concerned bodies can implement safe ways to engage in sports, communities will surely flourish.

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