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Tennis players, from amateurs to pros, look for courts to stay active during coronavirus pandemic

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-23 18:26:12-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Small outdoor activities might be a good way to stay active while practicing social distancing. If you're thinking tennis — it might not be easy to find a place to play.

“Normally I play at Harbor Island,” Mark Ray said. “But they are closed like most clubs.”

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Public tennis courts seem to be the popular place if you're looking for a sport with built-in social distancing. You might have to wait your turn at public parks like Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in downtown Tampa.

“It's been busy in the park,” Domink Koepfer said. “We actually had to wait thirty minutes for a court.”

The park has six public tennis courts and two pickle ball courts.

“Tennis you can play in a small group,” Koepfer said. “There's a lot of social distancing going on.”

And a lot of extra precautions with the threat of coronavirus.

“We used to shake hands, now we do the elbow bump,” Ray said.

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Koepher is not here just for exercise. The German professional is ranked in the #92 in ATP Tour rankings.

Even the pros need somewhere to keep their skills sharp with the ATP Tour postponed.

“It's tough, probably with this two-month break on how this all develops,” Koepfer said. “I'm still able to come out here, hit some with my coach and still able to stay in good shape.”

Koepfer said he would be in Miami this week playing in the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

All tennis players, no matter the skill level or venue, just hope the game doesn't completely shut down.

“It's just great getting out while we still can,” Ray said.

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