Kim Clijsters, Sloane Stephens headline World TeamTennis as season kicks off with safety measures in place
The tennis tournament takes place weeks after the Adria Tour was cancelled following its second leg in Croatia due to numerous positive coronavirus tests among participants, including Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world.
World TeamTennis (WTT) kicks off its three-week regular season on Sunday, as the world of professional tennis moves forward in the United States during the coronavirus outbreak.
Back-to-back champion Springfield Lasers face the Orlando Storm to kick off opening day at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, with all matches taking place at the resort throughout the season, where mandatory testing and temperature checks, along with other safety precautions, are in place.
Four-time Grand Slam winner and comeback queen Kim Clijsters of Belgium joins the New York Empire, who are out for redemption after losing in the finals against the Lasers last season, while 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens leads the expansion team Chicago Smash.
As many as 500 fans at a time will be allowed at the Greenbrier’s 2,500-person stadium, making it among the rare few sporting events in North America to welcome attendees in the COVID-19 era.
Frances Tiafoe, a 22-year-old American who reached the quarterfinals at the 2019 Australian Open, was forced to drop out of the WTT events earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19.
The event takes place weeks after the Adria Tour was cancelled following its second leg in Croatia due to numerous positive coronavirus tests among participants, including Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world.
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SSP Chawrasia was planning to join fellow Indian pro, Shubhankar Sharma, who is already in the UK and played the Hero Open in Birmingham this week.
In May, the BWF had unveiled a revised international calendar to salvage the remainder of the season, disrupted by the global health crisis which is showing no signs of abating.
WTA can weather revenue hit caused by cancelled tournaments but no normalcy until 2022, says CEO Steve Simon
WTA, which has lost a big chunk of tournaments since the forced shutdown in early March, will finally resume after a five-month break with the Palermo Open from 3 August.