No Bryan Brothers At This Year’s US Open

WASHINGTON, August 20, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

The US Open doubles fields and wild cards were announced on Wednesday, and while there are some very familiar names at the top of both the men’s and women’s fields – defending US Open champions and World No. 1s Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah, both from Colombia, and reigning Australian Open and French Open champions and World No. 2s Kristina Mladenovic of France and Timea Babos from Hungary – one big team missing among the men is twins Bob and Mike Bryan of the United States. Also, among the missing are women’s World No. 1s Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic and Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan.

The Bryans, both 42, who are the all-time winningest doubles team and certain future Hall of Famers, did not submit entry to this year’s US Open men’s doubles draw, which is comprised of the top 28 teams plus four wild card teams. While this year was supposed to be a farewell tour year for the Bryans, the coronavirus pandemic changed all plans.

With no fans allowed on site at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, playing in an empty stadium or on an outside court without any crowd support – not to mention the inability due to health and safety concerns being able to perform their signature baseline chest bumps – what’s the point?

During a July video chat with The New York Times, Mike Bryan said: “I don’t think we want to play a sterile US Open with no fans.”

In a change for this year, players were entered and accepted into each 32-team Dara using only their doubles ranking. In previous years, the better of each player’s singles or doubles ranking was used for entry in a 64-team draw.

The doubles competition at this year’s US Open is expected to commence on Sept. 2.

Safety first at W & S Open and US Open

During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, USTA chief executive Mike Dowse spoke about the non-player who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving inside the “bubble,” which has been created as a means of quarantining players and their teams.

“We expected this to happen,” Dowse said. “Mathematically, we expected to have a positive, if not more than one. So, we did anticipate this and we have put very specific protocol in place to prevent this from spreading broadly. …

“Our No. 1 priority is to take care of this person first, and secondly to prevent the spread from going any further.”

Once the US open begins, a player testing positive would be kicked out of the tournament. “This is all about mitigation of risk, lessening the exposure,” US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster said.

It was noted during the conference call that a total of eight players are renting private homes instead of using the US Open-approved hotels, located on Long Island.

Western & Southern Open draw party

The Western & Southern Open will live stream its draw party on Facebook Thursday evening beginning at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time (11:30 p.m. London, 12:30 a.m. Central European).

Italian great Panatta slams US Open

In a recent interview with Italian newspaper Il Foglio, Italian men’s great Adriano Panatta doesn’t think the upcoming US Open, the first Grand Slam to take place since the outbreak of COVID-19, will be a very significant event because of all of the no-shows due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 1976 French Open champion said during a recent interview that if he were still playing, he would not attend the US Open due to the volume of COVID-19 cases in New York.

“In these conditions I would not have gone,” Panatta said. “Playing without an audience is terrifying.”

100 Women of the Century includes four tennis icons

This week, to mark the 100-year anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in the United States, USA Today compiled its list of 100 Women of the Century, to recognize individuals who have significantly impacted the nation.

Highlighting the list are four tennis players – current greats Serena and Venus Williams and Hall of Famers Althea Gibson and Billie Jean King.

From its introduction, USA Today wrote of Billie Jean King:

Billie Jean King was told by men that women tennis players just didn’t have the same value as men, and therefore, would be paid less. She was shocked.

“I was giving the benefit of the doubt to the men that I knew and cared about,” she said. “And they did not come through. They all said, ‘Go home, take care of your husband,’ or ‘Nobody will want to see you guys play anyway.’ ”

So she walked away and helped form a tennis tour for women, where they could earn a living and retain their dignity. The men threatened to block them from the big tournaments, like Wimbledon. Didn’t matter. “And today,” she said, “it is the reason women are making money and everybody has a pathway.”

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