WASHINGTON, May 28, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
Add Great Britain to the growing list of European countries planning to host tennis events in the coming weeks.
According to various reports, the Lawn Tennis Association of Great Britain (LTA) plans to host a series of British Tour events this summer. The weekly tournaments will commence July 3 and run through July 26 at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton, utilizing its outdoor hard courts. Each tournament will be a three-day event played behind closed doors. There will be 16-player men’s and 16-player women’s singles draws and eight-team doubles competitions open to the highest-ranked players with an LTA membership number who wish to enter.
In a statement posted Wednesday on the LTA website, Scott Lloyd, LTA Chief Executive, said: “Since the coronavirus crisis, we have been working incredibly hard to support all our players, venues, coaches and officials through this very challenging time. I’m delighted to announce today the next stage of elite tennis’ return to competing safely behind closed doors as part of a five-phase plan coordinated by UK Sport with Government. The LTA is actively engaged in developing the necessary guidelines for behind closed doors events, which we hope will be determined by the Government in the coming weeks to ensure the safest environment for anyone involved in returning to competition and look forward to bringing tennis back into people’s lives this summer.”
“One feature that risks putting off top players,” writes The Guardian tennis writer Tumaini Carayol, “is the best of three sets format of four rounds over three days, requiring players to compete twice in one day.” He also suggests the players who do compete will be for the love of the game and not for the prize money. “These special circumstances mean its prize money will be increased by 50%, the event split into Premier and Tier 1 categories, and first-round losers awarded prize money for the first time. Entrants in the Premier event will compete for a total purse of £16,000 with £2,250 going to the champion.”
— LTA (@the_LTA) May 27, 2020
Meanwhile, Simon Briggs of The Telegraph of London reports that Andy Murray‘s management agency says he plans to make his first competitive appearance in over six months in an upcoming event that is being organized for late June by his older brother Jamie.
Briggs writes: “The event – which is expected to be announced on Thursday, or at worst before the end of the week – will probably follow a similar group-based model to the ATP Finals, and take place at a London venue that is yet to be confirmed.”
The 33-year-old Murray, who is currently ranked No. 129, has been idle since the end of last season. He has been hampered by a pelvic bone bruise. Murray’s last competitive match was a 6-7, 6-4, 7-6 victory against Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands during the Davis Cup last November.
According to The Times of London tennis correspondent Stuart Fraser, “Since resuming his training a week and a half ago, Murray has gradually increased the intensity of his sessions to a point where he is now confident that he will soon be ready to play matches, and Jamie’s round-robin event provides the ideal opportunity for him to return to action.”
Why Caroline Garcia is missing Roland Garros
“This week was reserved for Roland Garros,” Caroline Garcia, the French No. 2, wrote on Twitter. “For sliding on the most beautiful clay courts, to be tense, to share and exchange with the French fans, to experience the ‘Olas’, to push myself to my limits and to experience incredible emotions.”
Cette semaine était réservée pour @rolandgarros pour glisser sur les plus beaux courts en terre battue, être tendue, partager/échanger avec le public français, vivre des olas, repousser mes limites et vivre des émotions incroyables 🤩
— Caroline Garcia (@CaroGarcia) May 25, 2020
Moments we’re missing …
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) May 27, 2020
The Way Back Machine – Evert vs. Navratilova, Roland Garros, 1985
Catherine Whitaker, co-host of The Tennis Podcast, wrote on Twitter: “The world doesnt want female rivals to be friends, to be able to be friends. @ChrissieEvert and @Martina did it their way, and created the greatest tennis rivalry of all time.”
On Tuesday, The Tennis Podcast re-lived the Chris Evert–Martina Navratilova rivalry through their 1985 Roland Garros singles final, which the No. 2 seed Evert won over No. 1 seed Navratilova, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 7-5. In an exclusive interview with Whitaker, Evert explained “why she will be inextricably bound in history with Navratilova” – they faced each other 80 times – “the way they were portrayed as opposites, the reasons Navratilova was the favorite ahead of their 1985 Roland Garros final, why this victory stands out as her greatest, and the way it lengthened her career.”
Listen via www.thetennispodcast.net.
Behind The Racquet – Monica Puig
In a first-person essay Monica Puig wrote for the Instagram series Behind The Racquet last October, the native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, admitted that she was “clearly struggling” for the past three years, “dealing with all that pressure and expectation” that came after she won an Olympic gold medal in women’s tennis at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was Puerto Rico’s first Olympic gold medal in any sport. “It’s probably been the hardest three years that I’ve ever faced in my entire life.
“There is a trauma after winning something that major that pushes you flat on your butt. I had an entire country watching me, which was extraordinary, but they didn’t see the darker side.” The darker side which Puig, 26, was referring to was the onset of depression.
“As I became more upset I saw that depression was inevitable when it was tough to get out of bed. At one point you’re on the top of the world and all of a sudden it ends and you just not know what just happened. It’s like whiplash. I couldn’t find ways to motivate myself to play. I just didn’t know what to do with myself,” Puig wrote.
Puig, who has been sidelined with an elbow injury and hasn’t played since last October, is currently ranked 90th in the world. She reached a career-best No. 27 in September 2016, soon after her Olympic triumph. Puig has won one other title (Strasbourg 2014) since turning pro in 2011 and has compiled 303 wins against 210 losses. Her career earnings totals $3.4 million. This year, along with Jamie Murray, Puig has been profiled in Season 4 of Tennis Channel’s weekly web series “My Tennis Life.”
“There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel and there’s always going to be an open door or opportunity for you to improve upon things,” Puig wrote. “It helps knowing that this is common and not just something athletes are struggling with. Many people in our world are struggling with being ashamed for having anxiety, depression or anything else. It just puts things a little bit more in perspective to know that there are other people who are going through the same struggles and that if they can get past it, so can you.”
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“I have been clearly struggling for the past three years, dealing with all that pressure and expectation that came after winning gold in the 2016 Olympics. It’s probably been the hardest three years that I’ve ever faced in my entire life. There is a trauma after winning something that major that pushes you flat on your butt. I had an entire country watching me, which was extraordinary, but they didn’t see the darker side. As I became more upset I saw that depression was inevitable when it was tough to get out of bed. At one point you’re on the top of the world and all of a sudden it ends and you just don’t know what just happened. It’s like whiplash. I couldn’t find ways to motivate myself to play. I just didn’t know what to do with myself. There were many times when all I wanted to do was cry every day, in bed, in a dark room. You just continue to question where all your motivation and drive went. That’s when I started realizing that something was wrong and needed to be dealt with. I’m usually, when it comes to my feelings, an introvert, but it’s tough because people normally see me as a social butterfly, very much an extroverted person. When it came to talking about my feelings it wasn’t easy. It was only when I was able to accept it for what it was, that I was able to deal with it. I had to tell myself, ‘Hey I have a little bit of an issue and I need to take care of myself.’ It took a lot of soul searching for me to finally realize that there was something going on and to not think it was just a figment of my imagination. It has taken me until this point now, October 2019, to get my feet back on the ground and find myself back on the right track. All of these moments come with a tremendous amount of self-shame and self-criticism. Social media is also something that has affected me since I’ve received so much backlash and negativity. Everybody’s just always waiting for you to screw up. During these tough times, I’ve really had to rely on my family and my team, that I now have re-established these past five weeks…” @monicaace93 Continue reading full story at behindtheracquet.com
What they’re saying
Severin Lüthi, who is one of Roger Federer’s coaches on why the former World No. 1 has not been practicing much lately: “It is not necessary for Roger to hit, especially he is coming back from knee surgery. At the moment there is no stress to feel you have to practice a lot. If the tournaments should start again, I think there is going to be enough time.”
What they’re sharing on social media
Sloane Stephens / Missing Roland Garros
— sloanestephens (@SloaneStephens) May 25, 2020
#ATPChallenger At Home / Meet Jurij Rodionov
Yes, the quarantine beard is real. 😂
— ATP Challenger Tour (@ATPChallenger) May 26, 2020
Petra Kvitova / Feeling grateful
Feeling grateful to be playing matches again this week. Of course the situation is different, but it still sounds nice to say I am playing a final tomorrow 😀✌️ pic.twitter.com/txRqySEbwE
— Petra Kvitova (@Petra_Kvitova) May 27, 2020