Thursday, July 23, 2020

Social distancing with tennis

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Contributor

Tennis is ranked as a 2 on the COVID-19 risk scale.
"6 ft is good. 78 ft is better!" That has become the motto here at Towpath Tennis. While we are 4 months into this ‘new normal’ and have yet to see the light on the other side of the tunnel, we continue to work toward what we can control in what has been a grim situation. Covid-19 has taken its toll on small businesses and communities alike, but instead of allowing it to get the best of our physical and mental well-being, people are getting creative in figuring out how to still live an active life--just in a new way. For the tennis community, we are incredibly fortunate to have a safe place to do just that.

Tennis is a low risk sport that everyone can safely enjoy due to a number of factors, the most obvious being that players are 78 ft apart! According to the Texas Medical Association, on a scale of 1-10, tennis is ranked as a 2 and is considered low-risk during Covid-19. Activities were ranked by physicians from the TMA COVID-19 Task Force and the TMA Committee on Infectious Diseases. Whether you're figuring out how to 're-enter' the game or you're looking for something new to do for you and the family (where there's no-contact), tennis is for sure the social-distancing sport for you.

How to play tennis (and stay active) during a pandemic:
  • Take your temperature before leaving the house.πŸ€’ And for the love of, stay home if you're not feeling well.
  • If playing inside, wear a mask (at least in the clubhouse).😷
  • A tennis court measures 78 ft x 36 ft. Players hitting singles will have PLENTY of room to hit without any physical contact.πŸ€— Even when playing doubles, you can safely give yourself the 6-foot minimum distance between you and your partner (think of your arm + racket spaced between).πŸ’ͺ πŸŽΎ
  • Bring 2️ (or more) cans of tennis balls to play with. Depending on the number of players on the court, you can all have a designated can to serve with. Label them if you have to. For any tennis balls that aren’t yours, you can simply kickπŸ‘Ÿ or roll it back with your racket. 
  • Don’t switch sides and bring your own water.πŸ’¦
  • Play outside.️  Even though we have carefully thought out a safe environment to play indoors (see our safety guidelines here), players can opt to use our outdoor courts instead. We do hold some clinics outside and players are welcome to request the outdoor courts for private lessons.
  • Take a private lesson. Not sure you feel comfortable playing in a group drill session? Private lessons are available by appointment all day, every day!πŸ™Œ
  • Yes kids classes are running! I know you parents are dying to get the kids out of the house, and we're just as eager to see them out on the courts. There is 1 instructor/4 kids on every court. Markings on the ground keep the kids spaced out (and keep them from hitting each other).πŸ‘§πŸ‘¦
  •  Use the ball machine. You can still play tennis without a single person crowding your space.πŸ™…πŸ½‍
We've been planning, testing and fine-tuning our safety practices for a couple of months now, because we care about our tennis community and their well-being. We want our players to feel they are in a safe environment where all they need to worry about is the next point. We've already received positive feedback. Players are just grateful to be able to live an active life while still staying socially-distant playing their favorite sport.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

10 Fun facts you never knew about the Australian Open

Kristianne Bontempo | Towpath Tennis Contributor
The Australian Open is well underway and being an avid tennis fan, I’ve been more curious in how the first tournament of the Grand Slam season became the spectacle it is today. When did the Australian Open start? How did it become one of tennis’ largest tournaments in the world? With fans across the globe flocking down south or tuning into late night TV (at least in the U.S), take a moment on the next changeover to check out these fun facts about the Australian Open. You might be surprised how much you never knew about the Open down under. 
  1. The Australian Open (formerly known as Australian Championship) was first introduced in 1905 and was held in a cricket field. The Australian Open did not have its current title until 1969.
  2. Earlier the game was not only played across several cities in Australia but was also played in New Zealand in 1906 and 1912. From 1987 onward it was played in Melbourne.
  3. In 1988, the tournament made its first change by introducing hard courts instead of grass ones.
  4. Due to its distant geographical location, the Australian Open did not have foreign players until the year 1946 when several US players came to Australia by plane. Some of the recognized players who became popular from this event include Rod Laver, Margaret Smith and Roy Emerson.
  5. The tournament was not held between 1916 and 1918, or 1940 and 1945, due to international conflicts happening at the time.
  6. During the 80's, the tournament was held on the last week of November into the first week of December. That was the setup until 1985. After that year, the games have since been held in the middle of January starting in 1987. Because of the new schedule, there was no Australian Open in 1986.
  7. Martina Hingis is the youngest woman to win the Australian Open at the age of 16.
  8. Ken Rosewall holds the record for both the youngest and the oldest man to win the Australian Open. He became the youngest winner of the competition in 1953 at 18 years old and became the oldest champion of the tournament at 37 years old.
  9. The 2007 tournament is regarded as the hottest playing season which recorded unbelievable high temperatures well over 100 degrees F. Many players had to be put on some intravenous drips in order to cope up with the hot weather conditions in Melbourne.
  10. In 1988, Rod Laver Arena opened making the Australian Open the first Grand Slam to feature a retractable roof. The Open currently has 3 retractable roofs.