Progress Tour Woes In Great Britain

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

The Progress Tour Women’s Championships in England had hoped to be a female answer to the recently successful Battle of the Brits, which Jamie Murray organized and featured all eight of Great Britain’s leading men’s players. The BBC had agreed to televise the Progress Tour events on its digital platforms, which began Tuesday and continues through Saturday at the Roehampton National Tennis Centre.

Instead, it quickly turned into a low-key exhibition event after injuries knocked out Great Britain’s top four players in short order: World No. 14 Jo Konta, No. 50 Heather Watson, No. 146 Harriet Dart and No. 180 Samantha Murray Sharan all pulled out before the start of the tournament. It left World No. 254 Katie Swan, who received a wild card, as the exhibition tournament’s top seed among a field of 16 singles players. Eight doubles teams are also competing. Prize money is £30,000.

“My foot injury happened last week and it has been getting worse and worse,” said Watson, as quoted by the Lawn Tennis Association website. Watson has not played during the coronavirus lockdown. “I have pain simply walking so I’m taking it very seriously. I won’t be playing tennis at all for the next three days and will see how it’s healing. It’s such a shame because I was playing really well heading into this event and was excited to compete again.”

Meanwhile, Dart has been nursing a groin injury that’s not sufficiently healed. “I was really looking forward to competing again,” she said, “but unfortunately after training today I realized that I’m not quite ready due to a groin issue. I hope everyone really enjoys the event and even though I can’t play I’ll definitely be watching on TV.”

Swan returned to Great Britain from her home in Wichita, Kansas (United States) to compete this week. She faced No. 569 Alicia Barnett in her first group play match on Tuesday.

“I watched some of the boys in the Battle of the Brits from home. It was nice to see everyone competing,” said Swan, who arrived in Great Britain last week. “It was a bit weird with all the new changes with the rules, no crowd, no high-fives. I think it will take some adjusting but obviously it’s the way forward in terms of keeping everyone safe. So, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I’m just looking forward to getting back to competing on court again.”

Swan started well against Barnett and won the first set 6-4. However, she broke down early in the second set – favoring her right side – and took a medical time out behind 0-3. Soon after, Swan was forced to retire from the match after trailing 4-1 in the second set with a right hip injury that was clearly hampering her movement. She will miss the remainder of this week’s tournament.

“It’s unfortunate, I fell really sorry for Katie. But I think it’s maybe a bit too much, too soon for her,” Barnett said of Swan’s return to play, during a post-match interview with BBC Sport. “I had to work through a few things. Last time, she beat me in straight sets. This time, I got aggressive in the second set.”

Other Premier Tier Tuesday winners included: No. 289 Jodie-Anna Burrage, No. 374 Katie Boulter and No. 643 Freya Christie.

Pouille’s season on the brink

World No. 58 Lucas Pouille of France revealed on Tuesday that soon he will have surgery to repair his right elbow. The 26-year-old native of Grande-Synthe, France, wrote: “It’s never an easy decision to take, but I will get surgery on my right elbow this month in Paris. After new medical exams, it appeared it was the best solution in order to finally be able to play pain-free.”

Pouille went on to say he hopes to return before the end of the season.

Palermo Ladies Open main draw announced

The 24 main draw entrants for the Palermo Ladies Open, which begins the re-start of the 2020 WTA season on August 3, were announced Tuesday. World No. 2 Simona Halep headlines an all-European field. The main draw also includes two other former French Open champions, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Jelena Ostapenko, and last year’s French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova.

Oliviero Palma, Palermo Ladies Open CEO wrote on Twitter: It is an insane draw. Considering Simona Halep’s participation and the Entry List we can say that we’ll see a Premier at the Country Club, although it isn’t officially, yet that is the level we’ll have.”

Basel wouldn’t be the same without Federer

How World TeamTennis reached Opening Day

Nina Pantic, a tennis writer, editor and producer for a variety of platforms is on site at The Greenbrier in West Virginia covering the 2020 World TeamTennis season. In a story she wrote for the WTT website, we learn just how World TeamTennis reached its Opening Day on Sunday.

A few moments with WTT CEO Carlos Silva

Digital or in person, Tennis Hall of Fame has stories to tell

Tennis is a most global of sports and in recent times, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, located in Newport, Rhode Island (United States), has made sure that its expansive collection – including stories about its players, its championship moments and its memorabilia – is both far-reaching and reflects its history.

This week would have been Hall of Fame induction week. However, the global coronavirus pandemic changed all of that and this year’s class of inductees – Conchita Martinez and Goran Ivanisevic – will be feted next summer. In the meantime, the International Tennis Hall of Fame Museum recently reopened for visitors. It has also been in the process of digitizing its collections so that fans can access it online, writer and International Tennis Hall of Fame historian Joel Drucker has penned an insightful article, “More Than a Museum: Tennis Hall of Fame Informs Our Present – and Our Future” which explains the history behind the founding of the Hall of Fame and its mission as well as sharing the insightful story of recent Hall of Fame inductee Li Na and the impact she had on tennis in China.

What they’re sharing on social media

Zina Garrison / Keeping the Queen safe with a mask.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands / I love being part of the Chicago Smash of the WTT.

Iga Swiatek / Getting ready for New York.

Stan Wawrinka / Good is not enough …