(CNN) — The United States Tennis Association (USTA) released a statement Friday advising not to play tennis during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on the recommendations of the USTA COVID-19 Advisory Group, the USTA believes that it is in the best interest of society to take a collective pause from playing the sport we love,” the statement says.
“Although there are no specific studies on tennis and COVID-19, medical advisors believe there is the possibility that the virus responsible for COVID-19 could be transmitted through common sharing and handling of tennis balls, gate handles, benches, net posts and even court surfaces.”
“As a result of this, the USTA asks that as tennis players we need to be patient in our return to the courts and consider how our decisions will not only affect ourselves, but how our decisions can impact our broader communities. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay active and healthy with at-home exercise and creative ‘tennis-at-home’ variations.”
The USTA says it will provide updates as new information becomes available.
On Wednesday, this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships were canceled by its organizers because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The grass-court grand slam was due to begin on June 29, but a decision was made the All England Club to scrap the event for the first time since World War II.
Additionally, the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association jointly announced that same day the continued suspension of the ATP and WTA Tours until July 13 because of the pandemic.
Following the announcement of Wimbledon’s cancellation, the USTA released a statement saying it still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, which would be late August into mid-September.
The French Open, which had been due to start on May 18, has already been pushed back to September.