Tennis after the pandemic, will it be the same?

The excessive prevention during the celebration of upcoming events is an unprecedented situation for the players of one of the safest sports in the world

Man playing tennis.

Tennis will be another sport that will need to implement changes after the pandemic crisis. / Photo: Pexels

LatinamericanPost| Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: ¿El tenis después de la pandemia no será el mismo?

Life, nor sport, will be the same after quarantine. Tennis, for example, expects a "before and after" that we will see in a few weeks with little audience (as in all sports), without ball boys, and without coaches on the courts.

The aforementioned conditions are part of the preventive measure that could be extended for a year according to Angelo Binaghi, president of the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT) , who added that it is also about reducing the impact of economic losses.

Italian tennis derives its income mainly from the Rome Masters 1000 (postponed until a new date can be decided), which takes place in May on the clay court of the Foro Italico and the ATP NextGen, which takes place on the indoor court in the late year in Milan, and is for now scheduled to take place between November 10 and 14.

Binaghi wants to resume the competitions as soon as possible and that is why he proposed to the ATP to organize the Italian Masters 1000 between September and October, before or after Roland Garros is held in Paris, and was willing, if necessary, to organize it without ball boy and behind closed doors.

The Masters 1000 in Rome, of which Nadal was a nine-time champion, registered a notable growth in spectators at the Foro Italico in the recent five-year period, with the 2019 edition having the highest record with 224,360 attendees. From the elite, Novak Djokovic was already seen training.

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The new tennis

It is a true catastrophe for tennis to have to suspend this year its maximum tournament: Wimbledon, which will have to wait until 2021 to celebrate its 134th edition, which has not happened since World War II . However, it will be on July 13 when this position is confirmed.

"For a year or two, nothing will be like before. The players will have to collect their balls and towels, they will not be able to take their coaching staff to the courts. The public will enter and sit separately, with masks and disinfectant gel for everyone," said Binaghi for the official website of the FIT and whose statement was reflected by Mallorca Diario.

The leader finished by remembering the sacrifices that everyone must make to recover tennis in at least two years as we all know it. "It will be a quality system. I would like tennis to be awarded for its unique characteristics ”.

We are not talking about soccer or other similar team sports. The case of tennis has its peculiarities, especially because the risk of its players is minimal as it does not have contact or touch and because it is mostly played outdoors, which makes it a very safe discipline, speaking in health terms.

However, despite this, everything points to that, in these first changes when returning, the tennis venues will have their locker rooms, benches on opposite sides of the court and a lot of disinfectant gel to clean themselves.

Spain set July as the date

The Spanish program Tablero Deportivo reported that the RFET (Royal Spanish Tennis Federation) is planning to return to activities on July 10 in the European country.

A men's tournament with eight players, and a women's tournament with four, to play the quarterfinal, semi-final and final phases would be the starting point of Spanish tennis to return to post-quarantine action, although without the intervention of the current monarch Rafael Nadal.

The contest would start on July 10 according to the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation (RFET). The participants would be Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreño, Albert Ramos, Fernando Verdasco, Pablo Andújar, Feliciano López, Alejandro Davidovich and Roberto Carballés, all located in the Top 100.

For the ladies, the great absentee would be Garbiñe Muguruza, but in turn Carla Suárez, Sara Sorribes, Paula Badosa, and Aliona Bolsova would compete. The potential cities to organize this tournament are Lleida, Madrid, Valencia, and Seville.

In this tournament, the new regulations will be that the ball boys wear gloves and chinstraps and that there are two sets of balls, one for each tennis player.

Exhibition of Germany, a good first step

Dustin Brown, one of the tennis players who recently participated in the indoor exhibition in Koblenz (Germany) on brick dust, was optimistic with the return of tennis "it is a light at the end of the tunnel. A somewhat surreal experience", he admitted in statements compiled by ESPN.

Brown added, "With all the safety guidelines I think everyone has done quite well, giving their best. Even sometimes when it's not that easy. I'm so glad to be here and have a little fun."

In Germany, apart from the fact that neither spectators, line judges, nor ball boys were present, these friendly matches were disputed with the player's position changes being made on opposite sides on the court and with a short format, first to four games and without the traditional scoring advantage.

There will also be no handshakes at the end of the engagement. Thus, all that remains is for the official tournaments to resume on Monday, July 13, so that the impact of these changes on the game can be measured.

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