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Photo borrowed from Greenwich (CT) Free Press

I’ll give up tennis when you pry my racket from my cold dead hands

A Covid-19 message from the National Tennis Association — Institute for Legislative Action*

Jeffrey Denny

If you’re a tennis player, nothing is more important than playing tennis.

Especially during these times of quarantining and lock-downs when you need to get out of the house for fresh air and exercise.

Yet, some anti-tennis government officials are exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic to deny you and your loved ones your fundamental Constitutional right to hit a fuzzy yellow ball back and forth over a net, within defined boundaries, over and over again.

These anti-tennis extremists deem tennis-playing “non-essential,” they padlock public tennis courts that hard-working taxpayers paid for, and, in some locations, they even say you can’t play with anyone who’s not in your household.

Some jack-booted government thugs in bucket helmets have even shut down tennis shops as non-essential businesses — making it all but impossible for many tennis-loving Americans to exercise their need to open a fresh can of balls every time they play, or get their rackets restrung when they start to feel “mushy.”

All of this is happening even though tennis court baselines are 78 feet apart — 13 times the six-foot social distancing requirement — and most players over 40 rarely if ever come to net because they lack the speed, footwork or knees to get there, or skill to do much if they somehow do.

Just like you, we know this tennis assault weaponizing Covid-19 is wrong.

That is why the NTA will keep a constant watch on what is happening nationwide and will work diligently to ensure that you and your family are able to play tennis during these unprecedented times, since by now you’re getting desperate. Even if everyone else in your household stinks at tennis and your children can’t handle your brutal serve, heavy topspin forehands, and cross-court rippers.

In the past four decades, your NTA has led the way to pass a Right-to-Tennis law, the Federer Doctrine, allowing us to stockpile as many rackets and cases of tennis balls as we want.

And most important for the current crisis, we’ve fought for protection against racket confiscation during declared emergencies. This time is no different.

During these difficult times, your NTA is keeping vigilant watch over your right to slice, dice, psyche and otherwise hack your way to “win” a meaningless league or club trophy, since you lack any modicum of shame that your strokes look like you’re being attacked by bees.

The NTA fights for all law-abiding tennis players who don’t constantly make questionable line calls or question opponents’ line calls, and call the score when they serve so there’s no confusion that requires players to pause mid-game to argue it out. Everyone knows that stopping a game you’re losing to question the score is a psyche.

We understand times are tough.

But, if you have the means, please help us keep fighting against those politicians who are determined to strip away our right to keep working on our games just when our backhands were finally starting to improve. We thank you in advance.

Remember — the only thing that beats a bad guy with a Babolat is a good guy with a Babolat. Just ask #2 Rafael Nadal and #3 Dominic Thiem.

Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer

*Adapted from

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