WASHINGTON, July 26, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)
Pro tennis has been decimated by the forced shutdown of the sport due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected much if not all of the sports world this year. Like the ATP, the WTA has been idle since the cancellation of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in early March – and just two days ago lost a big chunk of its yearly revenue when the Chinese government pulled the plug on all non-Olympics-related international sports resulting in seven WTA tournaments being cancelled, including the WTA Finals – the season will finally resume in Palermo, Italy, on August 3. The current tennis calendar for the remainder of 2020 – especially the WTA’s – is a skeleton of its original.
On Saturday, in an interview with Reuters, WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said he doesn’t see the women’s pro tour returning to any semblance of normalcy before 2022.
“The WTA is no different than any other business in this world and everybody’s been affected financially by this,” said Simon. “And we’ve been hit hard, just as many other companies have been as well. If we’re not operating and you’re losing 50 to 60 percent of your year, your financials and your revenues are going to drop significantly.
“Do we have some big challenges financially? Absolutely. But we do have a strategy, we do have a plan in place that’s going to allow us to operate.
“And from a good news standpoint, our tournaments seem to be strong and stable as well, and are weathering it.
“You never know where you might lose one. But it appears that most of our calendar will stay intact if obviously the conditions allow for sporting events to be held going forward.”
Simon suggested that with the number of new COVID-19 cases happening daily throughout the world, which continues to affect international travel, the WTA’s planning is and remains in a fluid state – ready to change hourly as necessary.
“I don’t think that we will be back to what we used to take as ‘normalcy’ probably until 2022,” said Simon. “So we’re now also looking at how are we going to manage 2021, because I don’t think this goes away as of January.”
Dream UTS2 start for Gasquet as he shuts out Dimitrov
Ultimate Tennis Showdown 2 began with four group play matches at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy near Nice, France, on Saturday afternoon and evening. Among the first-day winners was Richard Gasquet, who shut out Grigor Dimitrov 4-0. Gasquet was a semifinalist in UTS1 earlier this month while this was Dimitrov’s first action since recovering from Covid-19, which forced him to withdraw from last month’s Adria Tour in Zadar, Croatia. Other Saturday winners were: Corentin Moutet, Benoit Paire and Feliciano Lopez.
— UTS | Ultimate Tennis Showdown (@UTShowdown) July 25, 2020
WTT: Orlando scores big upset win over Philadelphia
The Orlando Storm pulled off a major upset by knocking off the first-place Philadelphia Freedoms 23-13 in World TeamTennis play at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on Saturday. The loss snapped Philadelphia’s six-match winning stream and it was Orlando’s third consecutive team victory. The Freedoms’ only set win came in mixed doubles behind Fabrice Martin and Taylor Townsend. Otherwise, it was all Storm behind singles set wins by Tennys Sandgren over Taylor Fritz and Jessica Pegula against Sofia Kenin.
With Philadelphia’s loss and the Chicago Smash’s 21-16 win over the New York Empire Saturday night, there’s a tie atop the WTT standings as Philadelphia and Chicago share 8-2 win-loss records followed by Orlando in third place at 6-4. The top four teams advance to the WTT playoffs, which begin August 1.
#WTT2020: @GuaranteedRate Player of the Match @JLPegula sat down with @NickGismondi after playing the middle three sets in a row in the @OrlandoStormWTT‘s 23-13 win over the first place @PhillyFreedoms. She chats about starting strong, her win over @SofiaKenin and more! pic.twitter.com/KkP8YRLaWa
— World TeamTennis (@WorldTeamTennis) July 25, 2020
Tan surprise winner in final FFT Elite Challenge event
World No. 242 Harmony Tan upset No. 59 Alizé Cornet 7-6 (6), 6-3 to win the third and final leg of the FFT Elite Challenge exhibition tournament in Villeneuve-Loubet, France, on Saturday. The 22-year-old Tan, who has toiled away on the ITF Women’s World Tennis circuit, beat three players ranked above her this week en route to the title. Cornet had beaten Tan, 6-2, 6-3, in group play earlier in the week.
— FFT (@FFTennis) July 25, 2020
Tennis United: A reunion of Grand Slam doubles partners
It’s doubles week on Episode 16 of Tennis United. Bethanie Mattek-Sands gets together with her former doubles partner Lucie Safarova for an enjoyable conversation between Team Bucie partners. Together, Mattek-Sands and Safarova won five Grand Slam championships (two Australian Open, two Roland Garros, one US Open).
It’s Doubles Week on #TennisUnited…
— wta (@WTA) July 25, 2020
What they’re saying
Janko Tipsarevic following Friday evening’s completion of the Eastern European Championships in Belgrade, which he hosted at his Tipsarevic Tennis Academy: “This is a great victory for tennis, the city of Belgrade and the state of Serbia and an indication that this beautiful sport can exist and continue to be played, if we are all socially disciplined.”
Tipsarević Academy wraps up 6 weeks of competition: “This was a big win for tennis, the city of Belgrade, & Serbia, & an indicator that this beautiful sport can still be played if we’re all socially disciplined.”
— Ana Mitrić (@ana_mitric) July 25, 2020
What they’re writing
From Tennis.com comes word that wheelchair tennis star Esther Vergeer has completed cancer treatment and will return to work as the leader of the Dutch team as it prepares for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics.
— TENNIS (@Tennis) July 25, 2020
What they’re sharing on social media
Naomi Osaka / Wearing orange to support the WNBA
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) July 26, 2020
Tennis Majors / A friendly breaks out between @benoitpaire and @DreddyTennis
— Tennis Majors (@Tennis_Majors) July 25, 2020
Iga Swiatek / You must learn to be disciplined
— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) July 25, 2020