World TeamTennis Launches Its 45th Season

WASHINGTON, July 12, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Sunday is opening day for World TeamTennis. In the midst of a global pandemic, this year all nine WTT teams have gathered in one place – The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur, West Virginia – for its three-week season, the organization’s 45th year of competition. While Billie Jean King had a creative vision for tennis back when she founded World TeamTennis back in the 1970s, even she couldn’t have envisioned what current CEO Carlos Silva hopes to achieve by making sure the show goes on – and the King Trophy is awarded to the league champion on August 2.

“It is very important that we gave everything that we could to make 2020 happen,” Silva said, as quoted by the WTT website. “As I’ve said to others along the way, it only takes 30 seconds to cancel the season. We worked very hard every single day trying to figure out what is the right thing to do that would allow us to play, but also make sure that our players and our staff would also be safe.”

Among the competitors are: Venus Williams (Washington), Kim Clijsters (New York), Sofia Kenin (Philadelphia), Sloane Stephens (Chicago), Sam Querrey (Las Vegas), Taylor Fritz (Philadelphia), Monica Puig (Las Vegas), Eugenie Bouchard (Chicago), Tennys Sandgren (Orlando)  and the Bryan Brothers (Las Vegas). The WTT format for each match includes a set of men’s and women’s singles, men’s and women’s doubles and mixed doubles.

There’s a little something for all fans – and the league is allowing a limited number of fans (maximum 500 per day) to attend matches at The Greenbrier. Fans will have their temperature checked before entering the stadium and they must wear a mask at all times.

All matches during the 17-day season will be broadcast via a variety of networks and platforms, including ESPN and ESPN+, Tennis Channel and CBS Sports Network.

“Everybody knows World TeamTennis is unique,” writes Bill Simons for Inside Tennis. “The league is all about passion and inclusivity. Its creativity and flair are baked in. And it’s entrepreneurial to the max.”

Final Four Sunday For Ultimate Tennis Showdown

With the last day of group play completed on Saturday, the final four order of play for the Ultimate Tennis Showdown at the Mouratoglou Academy near Nice, France is set.

Simona Halep commits to Palermo …

On Saturday, the Palermo Ladies Open confirmed that World No. 2 Simona Halep will participate in the the WTA’s first tournament since March. It released a short video message from Halep:

Palermo tournament director Olivier Palma told the WTA website: “Halep’s participation is exceptional news; it had been decades since Palermo last hosted a former No. 1. Our city is very devoted to world tennis. Her presence is one of great interest for everybody.”

… and gives thanks to Wimbledon

Wimbledon: A tribute to our Champions 🏆

The Wimbledon website has created a tribute video to its champions. It’s narrated by the Duke of Kent, who has presented the trophies at Wimbledon since 1968.

The Way Back Machine / First ATP singles title for Roger Federer

Happy 30th Birithday Caro!

Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley shares best wishes for Caroline Wozniacki on the occasion of her 30th birthday Saturday. Wozniacki, who won her only Grand Slam title when she triumphed in Melbourne in 2018, announced her retirement following this year’s Australian Open.

Simon, Ferro win Challenge Elite FFT titles

World No. 54 Gilles Simon and 53rd-ranked Fiona Ferro won titles at the Challenge Elite FFT hard court exhibition tournament in Nice, France, on Saturday. Simon defeated No. 71 Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (3) for the men’s title, while Ferro upset No. 42 Kristina Mladenovic, 3-6, 6-4, 10-7, to win the women’s crown.

What they’re writing

Before his life passed, tennis great Arthur Ashe stood for so much. On the occasion of what would have been his 77th birthday, Washington Post national sports writer Chuck Culpepper traveled to Richmond, Va., a city that has been tearing down its monuments in protest, ones that recognized its Confederate past. The only non-Confederate monument on scenic Monument Avenue recognizes native son Ashe. Culpepper ponders: “Will his statue continue to stand in Richmond?” A must read for the weekend.

Passing shots

What they’re sharing on social media

Rod Laver / The Rocket holds Grand Slam memories close …

Karolina Pliskova / Walking into the weekend …

Borna Coric / Corona-free and back on the courts …