World TeamTennis, the student skilled tennis league that has operated in summers after Wimbledon because the 1970s, has chosen a website in West Virginia to conduct its whole 2020 season, in response to a number of individuals conversant in the league’s plans.
Play on the boys’s and ladies’s skilled tennis excursions has been suspended till a minimum of Aug. 3, however World TeamTennis plans to stage a three-week season that includes 9 groups from July 12 to Aug. 1 on the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., in response to the individuals, who spoke on the situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t licensed to debate the matter publicly.
The reigning Australian Open girls’s singles champion, Sofia Kenin; the 2017 United States Open girls’s singles champion, Sloane Stephens; and essentially the most profitable males’s doubles workforce within the recreation’s historical past, the twins Bob and Mike Bryan, are among the many gamers who’ve dedicated to take part. With no tournaments out there on both the ATP or the WTA excursions for the following two months, World TeamTennis officers are anticipated to pursue different marquee signings earlier than play begins.
Carlos Silva, the league’s chief govt, declined to touch upon Saturday. In an interview final week with The Related Press, Silva stated World TeamTennis was “nonetheless on monitor for July 12” to open the season, including that an announcement about website choice was imminent. The Greenbrier is owned by Jim Justice, the state’s governor.
Matches in World TeamTennis encompass units to 5 video games (reasonably than to 6) in males’s and ladies’s singles, males’s and ladies’s doubles and combined doubles. The league, nonetheless one of many few in professional sports activities that permits women and men to play on the identical workforce, was based in 1974 with Billie Jean King as a driving drive on and off the court docket.
This month, there have been some regional exhibition occasions, together with separate males’s and ladies’s four-player fields in Florida that featured top-50 gamers. World TeamTennis is just not tour-level tennis, however it’s thought to be extra aggressive than exhibition play, providing practically $5 million in complete prize cash, together with $1 million for the playoffs. CBS and ESPN have been confirmed as World TeamTennis broadcast companions.
The league, in response to the individuals, was nonetheless finalizing its security protocols, together with whether or not to allow followers. Tennis was on the forefront of sports activities’ response to the coronavirus outbreak when match officers abruptly canceled the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., which is thought to be the game’s unofficial fifth main, on March 8 — three days earlier than the N.B.A. suspended its 2019-20 season.
The remainder of the 2020 tennis season, together with the U.S. Open, stays unsure although the game, a minimum of in singles, naturally encourages social distancing whereas the ball is in play. With tennis’s multinational nature that depends closely on journey and the frequent crossing of worldwide borders, it’s unclear when match play can resume in the course of the pandemic.