Though it’s unclear when the ATP and WTA tours will resume due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it appears there will be one form of professional tennis happening in the U.S. this summer.
World TeamTennis, the three-week summer competition that combines men’s and women’s singles, doubles and mixed doubles into a fast-moving five-set format, announced Monday that it plans to hold its season beginning July 12 but will host all the matches in one city.
The WTT season typically follows a home/away format with teams based in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Diego, Orange County, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Springfield, Missouri.
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The league said it is currently in discussions with multiple cities in states where restrictions have been eased and where logistics will lend themselves to hosting all nine teams.
“We are very excited about this prospect and believe that this will be a unique way to allow our athletes the opportunity to compete for the 2020 WTT King Trophy and this year’s $1 million prize,” CEO Carlos Silva wrote in a release.
WTT has decided that due to COVID-19 it would be inappropriate for players, staff & fans to travel between cities & will now hold our 2020 season in one city. WTT will follow all CDC & state guidelines, as safety is our top priority, and will announce the city in the weeks ahead. pic.twitter.com/Be514wj8vl
The WTT’s preliminary rosters for 2020 included a number of top pros, but it’s unclear whether players from overseas will be able to travel to the U.S. to participate.
Among the Americans already scheduled to play are Grand Slam champions Sloane Stephens and Sofia Kenin as well as the legendary doubles team of Bob and Mike Bryan. Steve Johnson, Francis Tiafoe, Sam Querrey and Tennys Sandgren are among the other well-known American pros who were already on teams.
But with so few tournament playing opportunities, interest in playing WTT is going to be strong assuming it can pull off logistics.
The WTT has a television deal with CBS and ESPN, so its return would provide rare live sports programming opportunities for those networks during the outbreak.
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