World TeamTennis To Allow Spectators

WASHINGTON, May 27, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

According to its website, World TeamTennis will allow up to 500 spectators to its matches this summer. The three-week season, from July 12 to August 2, will be played outdoors at The Greenbrier, a resort nestled in the Allegheny Mountains in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. World TeamTennis confirmed a report from earlier this week published by The New York Times. It released a statement on its website Tuesday morning that outlines how WTT will have all nine of its franchises play in one location.

Because World TeamTennis is not affiliated with the ATP, WTA and ITF, which are all locked down because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is able to go ahead with its competition. There are no ATP or WTA rankings points awarded for WTT competition, which combines sets of men’s and women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles in each match.

“All of us at World TeamTennis are extremely grateful to be able to play the 45th World TeamTennis season and present professional tennis to our sports-starved and tennis-starved audiences through our media partners at CBS Sports, ESPN and Tennis Channel,” WTT CEO Carlos Silva said in a statement on the WTT website. “The overwhelming feedback from our players is that they want to play WTT and are comfortable in doing so in a safe environment, which is our number one priority. West Virginia has among the nation’s fewest cases of COVID-19 and I’m grateful to The Greenbrier, the city of White Sulphur Springs, and Dr. Jill Justice for being so welcoming and allowing World TeamTennis to play on in 2020.”

MatchPlay 120 exhibitions begin

The Grand Slam Tennis Tours MatchPlay 120 series, featuring a variety of Top 300 ATP and WTA players began play in Orlando, Fla., Columbus, Ohio, and Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The latest tennis exhibition series will last six weeks and a season-long champion will be crowned. Among the players who are confirmed to play include: Tennys SandgrenSteve JohnsonMarcos Giron and Denis Kudla. Also, Jennifer BradyLauren DavisLaura Siegemund and Leylah Fernandez.

Among the rules being used by the MatchPlay 120 include: a best-of-three set format, seven-point tiebreak at six-all in each set, all calls are confirmed by the chair umpire, and players serve with their own balls.

All matches will be live-streamed at grandslamtennistours.com. The tournament website also has a complete list of competitors and weekly schedule.

The Way Back Machine – Rafael Nadal, Roland Garros 2005

Tennis journalist Danielle Rossingh has contributed an interesting and informative story on Rafael Nadal’s very first main draw match at Roland Garros in 2005 against Lars Burgsmüller.

Chatting with Daniela

“Chatting With Daniela” is a daily feature of the Roland Garros website. Every day during the French fortnight, Daniela Hantuchova welcomes a past or current player to the show for a friendly chat. Guests thus far have included Mary Pierce, Kristina Mladenovic and Marat Safin.

Garbiñe Muguruza turns journalist

Garbiñe Muguruza shares in a first-person account written for Vogue España how a champion faces the physical and mental challenges in the unprecedented situation of the coronavirus quarantine.

History matters – Althea Gibson #Trailblazer

Behind The Racquet – Juan Sebastian Cabal

Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia never expected a change from singles to doubles would change his life. Following a 2005 knee injury that never quite recovered the way he wanted, Cabal decided to give up singles in 2013. “It wasn’t a tough decision because if I wanted to continue playing tennis I had to give up singles,” Cabal wrote in a first-person essay he penned for the Instagram series Behind The Racquet last November. “It allowed me to put the emphasis on doubles and fight to make the Olympics in 2012. It might not have been easy for the people around me, such as sponsors, but they continued to support me and we are all celebrating today.”

Cabal and his doubles partner, Robert Farah, rose to No. 1 in the world rankings last July after winning Wimbledon. It was one of five titles they won in 2019, which included lifting the US Open trophy. Cabal has won 17 career doubles titles and his career earnings (doubles and singles combined) exceed $4 million.

“With all the wins, there is nothing quite like doing it for your country,” wrote Cabal. “The love that Robert and I receive from the people of Colombia is unreal. It is truly hard to put into words what it meant to us. For them it felt like a soccer match, almost the World Cup. No one left the house, they were glued to the TV and celebrated our victory. When I’m off court, my life has little to do with tennis. I try to go back to Cali, Colombia, as much as possible. This is where my family lives, my wife’s family and where I want to be on any off time. Colombia has everything, consistent weather year-round, great food and just a great quality of life.”

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“I was playing a future in Mexico in 2005. It was the beginning of the third set as I was running to a ball I felt something very painful in my knee. My opponent hit a normal volley cross court and while I was moving to the ball my foot just got stuck and felt my leg go in the wrong direction. I couldn’t move at all and was forced to pull out. I immediately went back to Colombia to get an MRI and any other test I would need. It was hard to hear that this injury would need surgery. It was only a week and half later when I was getting it done. It took a really long time to recover, about six months without any activity. It was about nine months until I started jogging again. I fought to play some singles matches after this but completely stopped playing singles in 2013. The fact I was able to even come back to competition was amazing. I had a huge group of doctors and physios who were working with me everyday. They would continually encourage me to prove to myself that I could return at a high level. They would also explain that they can do all they can but how well I recover will depend on my effort. They became my team, almost like family. With all the hours of work, motivation and encouragement, these were the people who will text me first after a big win, the guys that really know me and my tennis game. I owe a lot of my current success to everything they did for me. I never would have expected a change from singles to doubles, would change my life. From playing in tournaments and noticing my knee wasn’t recovering the way I wanted after long, hard singles matches, I knew I had to make a change. I had to figure out how I would get my body back to 100%. It wasn’t too tough of a decision because if I wanted to continue playing tennis I had to give up singles. It allowed me to put the emphasis on doubles and fight to make the Olympics in 2012. It might not have been easy for the people around me, such as sponsors, but they continued to support me and we are all celebrating today. With all the wins, there is nothing quite like doing it for your country…” @jscabal To read full story go to behindtheracquet.com (link in bio)

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What they’re writing

Jonathan Liew, The Guardian sports columnist, from “Rafael Nadal the beacon of sport’s old power despite new normal”:

“Observing the world’s best men’s tennis players offers a subtly different flavor of insight. What’s striking is the warmth and affection they seem to have for each other: something more reverent than simple banter, more profound than professional regard. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray share childcare tips. Rafael Nadal tries to let a beaming Roger Federer into his live chat but instead spends several minutes staring quizzically into his phone. ‘Brilliant,’ Murray wryly observes in the comments. ‘He can win 52 French Opens but not work Instagram.’

“There’s a kinship to these exchanges that’s as poignant as it is instructive. Instructive because it reminds us that for all their differences, their rivalries, their silly warring fandoms, the Big Four (or Big Three and Murray, if these distinctions are important to you) have grown more alike over time, not less. Poignant because what should have been the first week of Roland Garros is instead a bleak warning of their dwindling collective window of opportunity.”

What they’re sharing on social media

Petra Kvitova / Got to wear her Roland Garros dress after all!

On Tuesday in an Prague exhibition, Kvitova defeated countrywoman Barbora Krejcikova, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

Stefanos Tsitsipas / Looking good, sounding good, too

Roger Federer / A year ago at Roland Garros