Rusedski discusses opportunity for tennis, if events carefully return

Rusedski discusses opportunity for tennis, if events carefully return

"There’s no reason tennis can’t start without the crowds" the former player said.

Tennis has an opportunity to increase its popularity if tournaments can be held again safely, said former player and commentator Greg Rusedski. 

Since it's easy for players to keep apart on court, tennis has been rated a relatively low risk activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Tennis, on a scale of 1 to 10, is one of the least transmittable – it’s below golf,” Rusedski told Britain's GQ. “There’s no reason tennis can’t start without the crowds there and gradually bring them in when allowed to do so."

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Despite problems at the recent Adria Tour, which led to several players testing positive for the virus, Rusedski points to other exhibition events that have gone smoothly as an indication that the pro tour can hold tournaments successfully.

No crowds will be allowed at this year's US Open, and Rusedski, a finalist at the event in 1997, calls it potentially "the only time in history we’ll probably ever see a major with no spectators.”

The big serving Rusedski, who played for Britain and won 15 titles, did take down more than a few terrific players, such as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Tommy Haas during his career. Those are the kind of big name encounters fans are extremely excited to watch again, which is something the sport should be looking to take advantage of, according to him.

“Let’s be honest, the first sport that gets televised, you will be watching, because you haven’t seen any live sports,” Rusedski said. “Tennis is such a safe sport and the more you can get it out to people the more you can broaden the appeal and help people realize what a brilliant sport it is.”

The first WTA event is scheduled at Palermo, Italy, on clay, and the first ATP event in Washington, D.C. on hard courts.

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