(CBS Local)– Sports around the country and around the world have been impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic, but one sport that has seen a jolt in popularity this year is tennis. The socially distanced nature of the sport has provided people of all ages with an athletic outlet during this unprecedented year.
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According to the TIA Quarterly USA Wholesale Equipment Census, adult tennis racquet shipments increased over 43% during the third quarter and over 40% for youth tennis racquet shipments. USTA national director Leah Friedman has been giving in-person and virtual lessons since the start of the pandemic and she is very happy to see tennis providing people with joy during such a tough year.
“Tennis is booming. We’ve seen more tennis players around the country pick up the sport from youth to adult players and families,” said Friedman, in an interview with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith. “Tennis is the most socially distanced sport, it’s safe, you’re staying away from your partner and we are happy to see that our players are healthy. We’ve seen racquet sales jump and we love welcoming new players to the game.”
USTA has provided guidelines for people playing tennis inside and outside and also offers a program called Net Generation Live, which provides free online tennis classes for beginner, intermediate and advanced players. The Play Safe tips were developed by the USTA’s Medical Advisory Board and Friedman like so many others has adjusted her business to the current circumstances.
“I like to say no court, no problem. During these last few months, we’ve really adapted the way that we teach tennis and the way that we experience tennis. I’ve given lessons from my driveway and in my living room,” said Friedman. “If you don’t have a racquet, it’s no problem. If you have a racquet, but you don’t have a ball, no problem. I’ve been using frying pans, balloons and anything I can find around my house to show people in their own communities that you can do this.”
Watch all of DJ Sixsmith’s interviews from “The Sit-Down” series here.