Tennis is a beautiful game on and, now, off the court as the ISS astronauts will try to play the first tennis match in space tonight. Taking place right on the International Space Station, it will be a game of doubles between two teams formed by the actual crew on the station, NASA astronauts Andrew ‘Drew’ Feustel, Ricky Arnold, and Serena Aunon-Chancellor and the ESA’s Alexander Gerst.
The first tennis match in space is prepared since December 2017 by the astronauts and the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and has the goal “excite the next generation of tennis greats about space exploration,” as Andrew ‘Drew’ Feustel said.
USTA sent to the ISS the required equipment for the first tennis match in space
Even more, NASA astronaut Andrew Fuestel will get the honor to be prepared for the game by the 2009 US Open men’s singles champion, Juan Martin del Potro, currently ranked the third in the world. Also, to help Feustel’s team and be sure they have all they need for this particular tennis match, the USTA sent all the required equipment to the ISS.
“We rocketed two mini Net Generation racquets and balls to Feustel on the ISS,” said Amy Choyne, USTA’s chief marketing officer. “Drew’s passion for tennis and space travel is inspiring our youth to serve to the moon and seek the unknown while also demonstrating the benefits of a fit and athletic lifestyle,” she added.
Andrew ‘Drew’ Feustel discussed how the match could go
The fact that we don’t have gravity is hard. Balls won’t bounce, and gravity has no effect. To me, it’s going to seem like that old game Pong, where you hit the ball, and the ball just goes straight; it doesn’t bounce on anything. So it’s going to be challenging,” explained Andrew ‘Drew’ Feustel, NASA astronaut and the ISS Commander of Expedition 56.