WTA’s Simon: ‘It’s Very Important For Our Sport To Be Working Together’

WASHINGTON, March 27, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

WTA CEO Steve Simon appeared on Tennis Channel Live Thursday to talk about where women’s tennis stands in regard to safety and when the season might start again.

Obviously, the WTA family is going through the same things that everyone else in the world is going through,” said Simon, the WTA’s chief executive. “I think we’re certainly healthy at this point of time and in good spirits. I also hope that’s true with all of the tennis fans as well. It’s unprecedented times and we’re all going to get through this together. 

“Like everyone else in the world right now, we’re looking at all of the data and taking all of the information we’ve received from the medical experts, the local governments with respect to the restrictions that are in place. The WTA and tennis is a little bit unique because it’s global. All of the travel restrictions and the challenges being faced are certainly going to affect us in being able to move players along.

“Currently, we’re hopeful to play again with our grass court season, which begins June 8, but we’re also realistic. We also realize it could be delayed even further. First and foremost is the safety of our athletes, our staff and, of course, the fans that come to the events. We want to be playing as soon as we possibly can. Hopefully, it’s June, but if not we’re hopeful for the summer hard court season back here in the States.”

When Simon was asked if going forward would involve another joint statement with the ATP, such as it was with last week’s lateral decision to cancel play through June 7, or if the WTA would take the forefront and lead the way, he said: “I think it’s very very important for our sport to be working together. We are in definite contact with the ATP on a daily basis as well as the ITF and the Grand Slams. The sport is working very well together.”

Monday, on the ATP Tour’s website, ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi addressed the uncertainty of the rest of the season. He said: “We are in close discussion with all the grass-court events and they remain on the calendar as scheduled at this time. The reality is this is a rapidly evolving situation and there is no option other than to take this day-by-day and week-by-week. We continue to assess all options related to preserving and maximizing the calendar based on various return dates for the Tour. It goes without saying that full cooperation with the other governing bodies is essential.”

Getting creative to raise money for Italy

Italian Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner shared news on his Instagram account this week that he will donate 10 euros alongside his management company, Starwing Sports, for each photo he receives of a pizza that resembles himself or any past or present Italian figure.

“Whilst we’re all home in confinement I thought it could be appropriate time to throw a little donation challenge for our country. 🇮🇹 Upload a photo of your homemade pizza using #SinnerPizzaChallenge to build awareness and hopefully inspire others to donate as they can in order to help us all get through this.”

Money raised from this challenge will go toward funding vital medical supplies in Italy during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

View this post on Instagram

Mentre siamo tutti a casa in isolamento, ho pensato che potesse essere il momento giusto per lanciare una piccola sfida di donazione per il nostro paese 🇮🇹 Io e la mia agenzia di gestione @starwingsports doneremo forniture mediche di vitale importanza per aiutare l’Italia in questo momento difficile a causa di COVID -19. Ogni foto che caricherete di un sosia di Pizza di me stesso o di una figura italiana del passato o del presente, doneremo 10 €. Carica una foto della tua pizza fatta in casa usando #SinnerPizzaChallenge per sensibilizzare e spero ispirare gli altri a donare come possono per aiutarci tutti a superare questo. Ps se desideri partecipare anche tu alla donazione sentiti libero di farlo usando il link in bio. È importante rimanere uniti in questi momenti di bisogno ❤️ Non vedo l’ora di vedere le tue foto! – Whilst we’re all home in confinement I thought it could be appropriate time to throw a little donation challenge for our country 🇮🇹 Myself & my management agency @starwingsports are going to donate vital medical supplies to help Italy through this tough time due to COVID-19. Every photo you guys upload of a Pizza lookalike of myself or any italian figure from the past or present we will donate 10€. Upload a photo of your homemade pizza using #SinnerPizzaChallenge to build awareness and hopefully inspire others to donate as they can in order to help us all get through this. Ps if you wish to donate as well feel free to do so using the link in my bio. It is important we stick together in these times of need ❤️ I look forward to seeing your photos! #ForItaly #LetsStickTogether #StaySafe #VivaItalia #TannisAtHome @atptour

A post shared by Jannik Sinner (@janniksin) on

Worth a good read

In 1991, John Feinstein’s Hard Courts: Real Life on the Professional Tennis Tours was published. The book took us “inside the glory and the devastation with unheard-of access and acute observations” of a golden generation of the sport. Think Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Ivan Lendl, John McEnroe, and Boris Becker, among many greats of the game. It’s a tremendous read for anyone wishing to re-live or know more about the state of tennis at the beginning of the 1990s.

“John McEnroe had just become the first top-rated player ever to be defaulted – for verbal abuse, a shocking obscenity directed toward an official – from a Grand Slam tournament. It not only signaled the sad decline of one of tennis’s greatest players, but also symbolized what had happened to the entire sport in the dawn of the nineties.”

Looking back, Feinstein, who has written extensively about college basketball and pro golf besides tennis and penned more than three dozen books, shared this anecdote Thursday writing on Twitter: “Interviewing John McEnroe late in his career. ‘Any regrets?’ ‘Yeah, I shouldn’t have argued w/umpires so much.’ Me: ‘Yeah, ‘cause most of the time they got it right.’ John (raising his voice at me) ‘NO. THEY WERE ALWAYS WRONG! I just shouldn’t have argued as much.’”

What they’re tweeting

Whether asking philosophical questions like “which sweatpants am I going to wear today?” or taking part in various tennis challenges, many players are using social media to keep in touch with their fans, post workout videos and to share their culinary techniques.