WASHINGTON, July 24, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
When Danielle Collins was dismissed from the Orlando Storm on Monday for remainder of the World TeamTennis season after violating Covid-19 protocols by leaving The Greenbrier Resport and the state of West Virginia to return home to Charlottesville, Virginia, without authorization, she told The New York Times in a telephone interview she did so in order to shop for supplements to help with her rheumatoid arthritis.
According to Collins, a pre-season waiver she signed didn’t suggest leaving the hotel was against league rules. “There was a waiver that I signed that was specific to the safety protocols and practices that were to take place during World TeamTennis, and it didn’t have any mention or not leaving the hotel,” she said.
However, World TeamTennis CEO Carlos Silva said all players were made aware during two meetings, including the day before the season began on July 12, that leaving The Greenbrier Resort compound was against the league’s health and safety rules. After all, the WTT gathered all nine teams in one location for the duration of the three-week season to create a quarantine “bubble,” which so far has gone well – except for Collins’s absence, in which she missed a mandatory Covid-19 test given to the rest of the Storm Monday afternoon. Silva told The New York Times during a Wednesday telephone interview: “I don’t think Danielle was trying to do anything bad, but it puts us in a situation where you’ve got to uphold what you are trying to do here so we can keep the other 150 people here safe.”
Silva said he was not holding Collins to a different standard. “I would never do that,” he said during his interview with The New York Times. “It wouldn’t be right, wouldn’t be fair. I think also a surprise trip two hours away to a different state definitely raises your level of attention for sure. If she had made a mistake and gone down the street to a pizza shop and she really didn’t know, I would have talked to her about it. But a surprise trip that was a two-hour drive?”
WTT completes mid-season Covid-19 testing
The World TeamTennis experiment – a full season in one place in a hotel “bubble” – as Christopher Clarey, tennis correspondent for The New York Times, wrote on Twitter, “is an important test case for all sports leagues in the age of the coronavirus.
“So far so good except for Danielle Collins, who insists that she made an honest mistake.”
#WTT2020: World TeamTennis is happy to report that we’ve completed our midseason COVID-19 testing of players, coaches, trainers and staff and all have returned with negative results. Safety remains our first priority as competition continues through the Championship on Aug. 2. pic.twitter.com/Ut4izS3mFg
— World TeamTennis (@WorldTeamTennis) July 23, 2020
Prague Open field keeps getting better
On Wednesday, the Prague Open announced it received a commitment from World No. 2 Simona Halep. On Thursday, the field got stronger with the addition of World No. 8 Belinda Bencic, No. 15 Petra Martic, No. 17 Elena Rybakina and No. 28 Maria Sakkari to WTA International clay-court event beginning August 10. The field includes six current Top 20 players.
The Czech Republic will be well represented in Prague with World No. 18 Marketa Vondrousova, 2019 runner-up and 26th-ranked Karolina Muchova, No. 31 Barbora Strycova and No. 54 Katerina Siniakova. Defending champion Jil Teichmann, who is currently ranked 63rd, will not return to defend her title.
The Way Back Machine – Novak Djokovic, Amersfoort, 2006
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic won his first career ATP title at the Dutch Open in Amersfoort, back in 2006. His 79 career titles trails only Jimmy Connors, Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Rafael Nadal.
The title was the first of @DjokerNole‘s current tally of 79.
— TENNIS (@Tennis) July 23, 2020
In celebration of World Whale and Dolphin Day
The WTA and ATP have teamed up with the WDC to raise awareness in support of the organization’s conservation and protection work.
To celebrate World Whale and Dolphin Day, the WTA and the @atptour have teamed up with @whalesorg to raise awareness in support of the organization’s conservation and protection work—> https://t.co/FFgarXQSKf pic.twitter.com/GkhFYm01if
— wta (@WTA) July 23, 2020
What they’re podcasting
On the latest No Challenges Remaining (NCR) podcast, host Ben Rothenberg interviews Citi Open chairman Mark Ein, who discusses how difficult it was to cancel this year’s tournament and the uncertainties that his event couldn’t ultimately overcome. Ein also talks about what he feels are challenges that tennis faces in the age of Covid-19.
The third episode in our 2020 @MarkEin trilogy, this time detailing his tough decision to call off the tournament for this year as tennis still looks toward a mid-pandemic comeback with challenges and uncertainty ahead.
— NCR Tennis Podcast (@NCR_Tennis) July 23, 2020
What they’re writing
Imagine winning all four majors in a single year and doing it twice. Rod Laver did. Earlier this month, Melbourne-based sports writer Linda Pearce wrote a thoughtful essay about Laver. In “Rod Laver climbed tennis’s sporting Everest twice, without asterisks,” she pens:
Rod Laver recognizes the apples/oranges element inherent in comparing records across eras, but the player acknowledged as the finest of his generation and voted as the best of the 20th century did something no other tennis great ever has: win the grand slam, twice. Repeat: all four majors in the same year. Twice.
My most recent interview with the diminutive Queenslander – in January, the day after his arrival for the Australian Open – was conducted in the Melbourne hotel from where there is a view across the Yarra to the physical monument that has borne his name since 2000. Discussing Laver’s legacy, which humility insists he always does reluctantly, the 81-year-old eventually mentions it: “My record. Just leave that out there. Whatever people think. Winning the grand slam certainly was a feather in my cap.’’
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 23, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
Palermo Ladies Open / Ready?
— Palermo Ladies Open (@LadiesOpenPA) July 21, 2020
Stefanos Tsitsipas / At ease on the Aegean Sea
— Stefanos Tsitsipas (@StefTsitsipas) July 23, 2020
ATP Tour / It’s not all t-shirts and gym shorts
View this post on Instagram