Coronavirus: ATP and WTA tell players not to give towels and sweatbands to fans

Serena Williams signs giant tennis balls for fans at the Australian Open in January
Players have been told not to sign autographs for fans

Tennis players will be asked not to hand out used towels and sweatbands to fans as part of further action to try to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The ATP and WTA have jointly announced precautionary measures to be implemented at tournaments including Indian Wells and the Miami Open.

Players will also not accept pens, tennis balls or other items from fans for autograph signing.

In a joint statement, the ATP and WTA said health and safety is "paramount".

"As the outbreak of COVID-19 continues, these are common sense precautions for us to take," the statement added.

"We continue to monitor this closely on a daily basis, working with our players and tournaments, as well as public health authorities as the situation evolves globally."

Other measures implemented include:

  • Players and mascots will not hold hands when walking out on court
  • Ball boys and girls will be provided with gloves to wear on court
  • Ball boys and girls will not handle player towels and drinks during matches

The measures will be implemented at all ATP and WTA tournaments during the 2020 spring season with "a further review to follow".

Indian Wells organisers had previously introduced precautionary measures, with qualifying for the tournament starting on Monday in California.

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