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World TeamTennis announced it has committed to play the entirety of its 45th season at The Greenbrier “America’s Resort” in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. This will be the first major professional tennis league to resume operations since the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19.

The 2020 World TeamTennis season will showcase a 63-match regular season over 19 consecutive days from July 12-30, with the WTT Playoffs to follow on Aug. 1 (WTT Semifinals) and Aug. 2 (WTT Final). The top four teams from WTT’s regular season standings will advance to the WTT Playoffs. CBS will air a regular season match on July 19 and the WTT Final on August 2. CBS Sports Network will carry 13 regular season matches and both semifinals on August 1.

WTT’s schedule will include at least three matches per day at The Greenbrier’s 2,500-seat outdoor stadium, with an indoor court to be installed as a backup option, for the league’s nine franchises – the expansion Chicago Smash, New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Orlando Storm, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, 2018 and 2019 WTT champion Springfield Lasers, Vegas Rollers and Washington Kastles. The matches are scheduled to begin anywhere from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. ET (subject to changes in broadcast schedules).

In accordance with state health guidelines, WTT will allow up to 500 fans (20% capacity) to attend its outdoor matches. Ticket pricing and access points will be announced at a later date.

Participating players in the 2020 WTT season include 2020 Australian Open champion and World No. 4 Sofia Kenin (Philadelphia Freedoms), 2017 U.S. Open champ and 2018 French Open finalist Sloane Stephens (Chicago Smash), Grigor Dimitrov (Orange County Breakers), the Vegas Rollers’ Sam Querrey and Bob and Mike Bryan, the winningest and most accomplished doubles team in tennis history, Tennys Sandgren (Orlando Storm) and doubles specialists Rajeev Ram (Chicago), Jean-Julien Rojer (Springfield Lasers) and Neal Skupski (New York Empire), the 2019 WTT Male Most Valuable Player.

 

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This sounds very good! The next step is to have some fans at these events
Then maybe the Citi Open in DC will have them also
And this is not far from Washington DC tour event. Same area of the US, can drive there one afternoon
 

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Sofia just loves playing tennis anywhere doesn't she ( Which is great), i'm sure she will be available for all exhibitions until regular tennis resumes.

I just need to organize an event in my back garden, and i'm sure she'll turn up for a hit, she could bring Bianca, Dayana & Amanda along as well. ( Perth is a fair way to come however)
 

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Doing press with the CEO today. If you have any questions, leave them here.
 
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Ask if they are in communication with ATP, WTA, USTA and the Citi Open about getting the players there & all the protocal involved now
Is this event being studied by them on how to re-open?
 

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He's focused on the season, but he did mention D.C. and also that all players that commit to WTT will have to stay on-site.

Some other tidbits:

La Costa and the Orleans Arena/Casino were the other finalists to host the season.

Three matches a day: 10am, 2pm, 7pm. Schedule and more player commitments to likely be announced next week.

15 matches on CBS, the rest to be split among CBS Sports Network and ESPN +. Semifinals on CBSSN, final on CBS.

Osaka is in talks to possibly join for the season. While it isn't definite, she's been talking to them since last year.

We were allowed one question per reporter. I will do a 1-on-1 with Carlos at some point. More details to follow.
 

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This is such a good idea, I hope it does great! Getting some fans in there and star players, is what every tournament should be trying to do the rest of the year
 

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it's just me against the music.
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Great and safe news. Looks like the American hard court swing will take place. Encouraging.
 

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I'm not sure I would go to West Virginia even if it was my only option to play live tennis. It's like the Moldova of America.
The decision was made based on the low number of cases in the state.
 

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I should also add the league will expand in 2021 with between one and three teams (exact number not determined yet).
 

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The decision was made based on the low number of cases in the state.
Exactly, much like other backwaters that have low case loads (like Eritrea or Albania), West Virginia is a place disconnected from the global and regional economy.

In fact, having a tennis event there, even a small one, could well end up like South Sudan, which only had cases enter the country when asymptomatic relief workers and economic development professionals spread it.

Count me out.
 

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Another note: the center court seats 2500, but will only hold 500 for obvious reasons.
 
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WTT starts next week with fans

And now the 45th season of World TeamTennis is coming to The Greenbrier.
The annual professional tennis league, normally held during the break between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, will begin Sunday and run through Aug. 2 at the resort just across the West Virginia state line in White Sulphur Springs.
Nine franchises representing cites from New York to California will take part with one big change.
All 63 regular-season matches and the semifinals and championship final are scheduled for The Greenbrier’s stadium court.


Players committed to the event include seven-time Grand Slam women’s singles champion Venus Williams, two-time U.S. Open champ Kim Clijsters, 2017 U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens, reigning Australian Open champ Sofia Kenin, 16-time men’s doubles Grand Slam winners Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, 2017 Wimbledon men’s semifinalist Sam Querrey and current No. 2-ranked U.S. men’s player Taylor Fritz.
“The teams are pretty much stacked, which is amazing,” Stephens said Wednesday during a conference call. “It will be very interesting to see how people play after not playing for a while.
“With some of the best players in the world, you’ve got to watch, right?”
Up to 500 spectators will be allowed at any outdoor match, which is the main reason World TeamTennis CEO Carlos Silva said he chose to bring the event to southern West Virginia.
Tickets are available and social distancing will be in effect. Masks will be required of spectators while in the stadium.
The players must receive a negative test for COVID-19 before leaving for West Virginia.

Once players arrive at The Greenbrier either Thursday or Friday, they will immediately be tested again and be sequestered in private rooms with room-service meals until the result of the test is known.
Players will have a daily temperature check. Any player with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will be pulled out of a match and reevaluated by medical staff.
If any player tests positive during the event, he or she will be quarantined and retested twice. If a player cannot produce two consecutive negative tests, the player would be removed from the competition.

“We worked very hard to figure out what is the right thing to do that would allow us to play but also to make sure than our players and staff would be safe,” Silva said.
The Aug. 1-2 semifinals and championship match will have $1 million in prize money for the first time in the WTT’s 45-year history.
The final will be televised live at noon Aug. 2 by CBS.
“I’m not interested in running a mediocre property,” Silva said. “It was important to gain everything we could to make 2020 happen. It only takes 30 seconds to cancel a season.”
Stephens, who recently played in a 16-player women’s event in Charleston, South Carolina, where spectators were not allowed to attend, said she is comfortable leaving her home base in Florida to enter The Greenbrier “bubble.”
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I feel like I can protect myself,” said Stephens, who defeated Madison Keys 6-3, 6-0 in the 2017 U.S. Open championship. “I’m definitely in control of that, and I can protect others by following what the protocols are. Nobody wants anyone to get sick or be in danger.”
Clijsters, 37, is attempting a second professional tennis comeback.
She won the U.S. Open in 2005 and was ranked No. 1 in the world, but she retired in 2007 to give birth to a daughter.
The Belgian returned to win back-to-back U.S. Opens in 2009-10 and the Australian Open in 2011 before retiring again in 2012.

She played World TeamTennis a decade ago.
“The whole World TeamTennis vibe is something that I enjoy,” Clijsters said.
“I remember that I was nervous because I had to play mixed doubles with John McEnroe, but it’s fun.”
World TeamTennis uses a different format than the ATP or WTA tours employ to govern their tournaments.
No-ad scoring is used if a game reaches 40-40. Each set is played to four games with a tie-break at 4-4. Servers are under a 25-second “shot clock.” Timeouts and limited substitutions of a player during a match are allowed.

At times, music is played during the match.
“World TeamTennis, more than ever, is right for the times,” Silva said. “It’s fast-paced. So many of the things World TeamTennis has had embedded in moving things quickly, making it exciting is permeating through tennis.
“I’m just waiting for them to add music like we’ve had ... that makes it feel more like an NBA game which is where I want to continue to push this concept of entertainment and sport coming together.”
With Wimbledon canceled for the first time since World War II, the international tennis tours are trying to keep from coming apart.

The U.S. Open is scheduled for Aug. 31-Sept. 13 without spectators. The postponed French Open will follow Sept. 20-Oct. 4.
Stephens, 27, is dealing with a new reality in the prime of her career.
“I don’t even know what I’ll be doing tomorrow,” she said. “I have no clue what my life looks like. This is the most unorganized and tested time I’ve ever had.
“With travel restrictions and borders ... things are changing every day.”
Silva, who is in his second year as the World TeamTennis CEO, will not be able to relax until the WTT season is complete.
“All the other major leagues are in the middle of this,” he said.
“Every single day we’ve got to be diligent. We’re never out of the woods until one of the teams holds the King trophy on August 2nd.”



An article on Kim, who is playing here
 

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Starts Sunday, very good group of players
"I feel relieved in a way knowing all of the things and measurements that they’ve taken to bring tennis to West Virginia and make sure that everything is organized so well makes it really comfortable for the players and everybody involved." -Kim Clijsters on WTT
 

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Here is the schedule, and tv networks showing them

It starts with Lazers (Olga Govortsova & Caty McNally) vs Storm ( Danielle Collins, Pegula, Tennys Sandgren)
Last Sunday teams have Kenin vs Coco Vandeweghe or McHale

Clijsters & Lisicki are on the NY team, they play Monday
Kenin is on Breakers. Here is the roster
 
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I'll be covering the Empire again, so you can leave the Clijsters stuff for me. Thanks.
 

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It's basically exhibition. And not really with spectators, with spectators and social distancing. :D It's on CBS Sports Network?
 
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