Why tennis and golf are also prohibited in Corona times

Tennis courts are also closed due to the corona pandemic. Photo: Marijan Murat / TEH (Image: TEH) (Photo: Marijan Murat / TEH)

Stuttgart – Davis Cup player Jan-Lennard Struff was not the only one who thought that it could also be due to the tennis balls. The German number two now has a special permit.

For leisure gamers, on the other hand, it has been prohibited in the Corona crisis for weeks to arrange to play in pairs, even if the safe distance is easy to keep. Is the ban related to the felt balls that both players would take in hand?

The virologist Melanie Brinkmann rejects the fact that the virus can be transmitted in this way is absurd. “I see no problem with the normal use of a tennis ball,” said the expert from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research in Braunschweig, “at least on the condition that the players don’t spit on the ball vigorously and throw it into the opponent’s mouth.”


The American tennis association USTA, on the other hand, writes: Medical consultants believe that the balls next to the net posts, doorknobs, benches, and the flooring should be listed as possible carriers. Even if there are no studies on it. Regardless of such considerations, the goal for those responsible was to minimize the possibility of people meeting for pleasure. The lock on sports facilities, therefore, applies uniformly.

After all, two people would hardly be left alone on an open tennis facility. One share narrow paths to the seats, there is an incentive to sit down on a bench together or to chat on the club terrace. It would be difficult to understand contact chains, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs in Baden-Württemberg. Checking whether distance rules are observed would also be an enormous effort.

“If you should meet as rarely as possible, it is not right to say that we want an exception,” said the Vice President of the German Tennis Association, Dirk Hordorff: “If everyone applies for an exemption, the system will not work.”

But tennis, like golf, is one of the sports that are safest under certain conditions in these times. The baselines are more than 20 meters apart, there can actually always be a distance of two meters. The outdoor season begins.

The German Tennis Association also wants to encourage the opening of the courts soon. The DTB wants to join a letter from the German Golf Association (DGV), announced Hordorff. The DGV has already “addressed a large number of relevant decision-makers at the federal and state levels”.

As an individual outdoor sport, golf can also “be an important part of the first stage in terms of health protection,” wrote DGV President Claus M. Kobold. It is not about a special way for golf, but about a «still very limited but rapid loosening of at least a part of the sport».

The DTB seeks advice from virologists to suggest possible conditions: “Tennis is naturally predestined to be a sport,” said Hordorff. The DTB vice chief assumes that the recreational players can return to the tennis courts at least significantly earlier than the professionals with their considerable travel volume on the tournament tour.


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