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."
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.
A donation today will put your name in the Hall of Fame!
Hall of Fame experiences and tennis memories will always have a special place in our hearts. Help commemorate this historic pause in tennis and put your name in the Hall of Fame at tennisfame.com/yourname
With a donation of as little as $25.00, your name and photo will be a part of this new interactive exhibit in the Museum at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. A virtual rendering of the exhibit will also be online to share with the world!
Join thousands of tennis fans from across the globe to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime exhibit to have your name alongside the names of the 257 legends of the game. Your contribution enables the International Tennis Hall of Fame to continue our work to preserve tennis history, celebrate its champions, and inspire generations to come.