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Corona Virus and Health Precautions for Tennis Players – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast 184

By Kselz @TennisFixation

Hey all! As I'm recording this episode, it's March 13, 2020 and things in the world are disconcerting, to put it mildly. So because this is having a big impact not just on our lives, but on our tennis lives, I'm doing a super quick podcast episode here about COVID-19, otherwise known as the Corona Virus. You'll notice there's no music and none of the other fancy stuff I usually do in my podcasts. I just wanted to put this together quickly because I think this is an important topic for all of us.

You can listen to this episode by clicking on the media player in this post or by listening in with your favorite podcast app. You can also subscribe in Apple Podcasts by going to

So I decided to record this episode for several reasons. I really wanted to do it in light of the recent announcement by the World Health Organization that we are now in the middle of a COVID-19 global pandemic. And also because we have been experiencing and continue to experience the suspension and cancellation of all kinds of events and gatherings, including many sporting events. Just yesterday, the ATP suspended seven tournament events including the BNP Paribas tournament in Indian Wells and the US Men's Clay Court Championship which was to have taken place here in my home town of Houston, Texas. I'm sure the WTA will follow suit. But also, it was important to me to record this episode because I see a lot of confusion in my own tennis community about how the Corona Virus is impacting our lives and what is really the smart thing to do right now.

So, as I record this, on March 12, 2020, things are very uncertain in the world. I'm actually recording this in Salt Lake City, Utah. I just flew in yesterday for an important family event. And believe me, my husband and I seriously considered cancelling this trip and may look back on this and question why we thought it was a good idea to get on a plane right now. But we decided to go forward because we are trying to operate from a place of logic and science and not from a place of craziness and over-reaction. I guess we'll see how things play out in the next few weeks.

Anyway - I want to talk about tennis here, specifically recreational tennis. The kind of tennis that you and I play and what kind of precautions you and I can be taking right now if we are going to be playing tennis in the very near future. Again, as I record this, two of the really big ladies leagues in Houston have announced that league play will be moving forward at this time and the remainder of the season is NOT cancelled. That's at this time and I'm sure that could change tomorrow or tonight or even in the next hour.

But for now, at this moment, league tennis is still being played in Houston. For me, I'm happy to keep playing tennis. It's my fun time. So I hope I will get to keep playing for a good long while.

Having said that, the threat of Corona Virus is quite serious. We all need to do what we can to prevent the spread and "flatten the curve" and if that means not playing tennis for a while, then that's what I'll do. But for now, I'm still playing. And while I'm not a doctor, and nothing I say here should be taken as medical advice, I do have a few safety precautions I'm observing to hopefully keep myself healthy. And I want to let you know what I'm doing so you can think about what you might do if you're still able to get out and play some tennis. Again, this is not medical advice, just some common sense tips from one tennis player to another.

So here they are - six tips or precautionary measures that you and I can take on the tennis court to better protect our health.

1. Observe All Health and Safety Rules

First, please observe all warnings, rules, policies, etc. put out by your government, your city, your state, and your nation; as well as policies that are adopted by your club, your facility or any other venue or organization that is giving you information about what you can and can't do to remain safe. If you're anything like me, you're getting all kinds of information coming at you about what is and isn't permissible these days. And these things are changing, seemingly minute by minute. Please observe these warnings, rules and policies to keep yourself and others healthy. And if anything I say here conflicts with what someone with some authority is telling you, use your common sense and do what you are required or advised to do.

2. Avoid Physical Contact with Others

Tennis is a sport where not a lot of physical contact with players really happens or has to happen. This is different from say, basketball which is definitely a contact sport and explains why the remainder of the NBA season was cancelled. But having said that, there can be some physical contact in tennis so avoid that as much as you can. Avoid shaking hands at the end of a match. Avoid first bumping, or hugging, or any other touching. Avoid sharing items with other players like food or drinks.

And when I talk about not sharing other items, I know you're not going to drink from someone else's cup. But don't eat from a common plate or bowl of food. Don't use someone else's towel. Maybe don't even borrow someone's sunscreen or rosin bag or grip gel. Sometimes we do these things without thinking. So this is a time to be conscious of little things like that.

3. Wash Your Hands and Use Hand Sanitizer Frequently

Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer frequently. Everyone is saying that and I'm sure most of you are already doing that. But here's something I've been giving some thought. If a virus can survive on a door knob, can't it also survive on a tennis ball? Especially a tennis ball that is in close contact with our bodies and our sweat?

For now, I'm okay with touching tennis balls that are being used by myself and other tennis players during a match. But I will avoid touching my face or my mouth during matches and I'll certainly be using hand sanitizer frequently. I'll also be sure to wash my hands thoroughly both before and after my matches. And I recommend you do the same.

4. Bring Your Own Snacks and Drinks

If you've been listening to this podcast for a while, then you already know I am a big advocate of bringing your own snacks and drinks to court. Sometimes the snacks just aren't what you want or need to eat during your matches. Sometimes the drinks are also not appropriate. So I always bring my own stuff and think you should too.

But especially during this time, it's a great idea to just bring your own stuff and eat and drink your own stuff. That way you know exactly what you're getting and exactly how has handled it. And I would eat and drink only items in sealed packages so there is no chance of contamination.

5. Practice Social Distancing

Practice social distancing. I am really impressed that this phrase has become so popular so quickly and, as far as I know, really didn't exist in everyday language up until the last couple of weeks. On the tennis court, we already kind of practice social distancing. You don't normally touch anyone when you're playing out a point. If anything, during a doubles match for example, you usually want to make sure you're covering as much of the court as possible so you're not typically standing close to your partner. So social distancing may actually help you play better doubles by increasing the amount of court area you're covering.

But when you're talking to your partner, be sure and maintain a little distance. Maybe cover your mouth as you're strategizing. This is a good idea just to keep your opponents from figuring out what you're doing. Again, avoid hand shaking or fist bumping or hugging when the match is over.

6. Use Common Sense

My final tip - use common sense. If you are sick, stay home. If you're coughing a lot, stay home. If you're coughing and have a fever, definitely stay home. If you have any doubt at all about your health, just stay home.

And if you are in one of the groups that this virus can hit particularly hard, I would also recommend that you consider not playing for at least the next few weeks. So if you're in an older age group, if you're immuno-compromised, if you're sick with something else that may have weakened your system, this is not the time to be out on the tennis courts. Again, use common sense and stay home if you have any doubts.

While you may have to forfeit a match or two because you don't feel well or you don't want to be exposed to others who may be sick or you want to exercise caution, it is certainly much better to forfeit your match than to risk your health and/or the health of others.

So those are my Corona Virus and health precautions for tennis players at this time. Again, I'm not a doctor and this is not intended to be medical advice. This is just me telling you what I think and what I'm doing right now to try and stay healthy when I play tennis. This may all change in the next few days or even the next few hours. But I don't want to panic and I don't want to miss out on any tennis if it's not unreasonable to be playing.

Those are my thoughts. If you want to tell me your thoughts, I'd love to hear them. Just email me at kim at

Thanks so much for listening. I do appreciate this wonderful tennis community that Im a part of. Please stay safe and healthy. And, of course, as always, Happy Tennis!

Copyright Kim Selzman 2020 All Rights Reserved

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