If International TeamTennis will get its approach, Grand Slam champions Sofia Kenin and Sloane Stephens may well be a number of the first tennis avid gamers to compete in entrance of enthusiasts after the coronavirus pandemic triggered lockdowns world wide.
WTT mentioned Tuesday it’s making plans to permit as much as 500 spectators at every of its out of doors suits all through a three-week season from July 12 to Aug. 2 at a hotel in West Virginia.
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The league additionally introduced an building up in overall prize cash to $five million this 12 months, $1.five million greater than for its 2019 season.
All tennis occasions sanctioned via the ATP, WTA and Global Tennis Federation are on grasp till a minimum of past due July as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. That comes with the French Open, which was once intended to have began its 15-day major draw Sunday however was once postponed till September, and Wimbledon, which was once canceled outright for the primary time in 75 years.
However WTT isn’t affiliated with the ones excursions — no ATP or WTA score issues are to be had for its suits — and does now not wish to abide via their choices about when it’s OK to compete.
As a result of the pandemic, International TeamTennis is bringing all 9 of its groups to at least one web page — The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia — as an alternative of getting suits performed round america.
And in contrast to smaller exhibition tennis occasions around the globe which have been staged with none enthusiasts provide, WTT intends to promote tickets for one-fifth of a 2,500-seat out of doors stadium.
There additionally might be an indoor courtroom arrange in case it’s wanted; spectators might not be allowed to observe there.
WTT CEO Carlos Silva mentioned in a contemporary interview he has been tracking different sports activities occasions going down to peer how they treated well being protocols, together with UFC fights and NASCAR racing. Neither of the ones sports activities allowed spectators at their returns to motion this month.
Some of the avid gamers the WTT mentioned will take part in its suits are Kenin, who gained the Australian Open in January, ahead of sanctioned tennis was once suspended as a result of the virus in March; Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion and 2018 French Open runner-up; and twins Bob and Mike Bryan, who’ve gained 16 Grand Slam titles in males’s doubles as a workforce.