While the ATP, the WTA and the ITF had suspended their activities until the month of August, a series of professional competitions, played on private property, see quietly the day in the United States. With scholarships, these mini tournaments do not appear to have difficulty attracting the best players on the planet.
The American Reilly Opelka, 39th in the world, has won the first tournament of the UTR Pro Game Series the end of last week. The event was attended by four players in the top 60 at a private residence West Palm Beach, Florida.
This end of the week, it is in the court of the residence of the Rolling Hills of the father of a former tennis player american university, Jake Douglas, that will be presented in the second tournament of the series. Sam Querrey, 45th in the world, will be of the party, and with five other players.
The next weekend, Alison Water (19th), Amanda Anisimova (28th), Danielle Collins (51st) and Ajla Tomljanovic (56th) will compete in the framework of the series, in West Palm Beach.
Relaunch the sport
This initiative is part of the effort to revive the sport in this period of crisis, the COVID-19. Steps are obviously taken to ensure the safety of all, as reported on Friday the Los Angeles Times.
The four players who participated in the first tournament had to first undergo a medical evaluation. Everyone wore his or her own towel and drinks. The balls of each player are marked and there has been no handshakes at the net.
There was a referee but no line judges. There were no spectators in addition to a cow grazing in the meadow. “I’ve never heard a cow grind so hard and so often,” said Opelka interview to the Tennis Channel, who was on site in small team to capture images. A comment describing the event from a studio in Los Angeles.
This end of the week, to Rolling Hills, the parents and friends of the six players in action will be allowed, but separated physically. The scholarship will be$ 10,000.
The formula is therefore in full break-in and will continue to evolve. “We consider it as an experiment,” said Stacey Allaster, ceo of the professional tennis at the USTA, in an interview to the Los Angeles Times.
“I applaud all the sports that try new things. It is a time for us again. I think what has made the NFL with its draft is fantastic […] Is that it was perfect? No, this was not the draft that the NFL wanted. But they did it for their supporters. It is a form of test. It was good to witness and learn from this experience,” added Allaster.
Director of tennis at the UTR, Stephen Amritraj is happy with the result of the first tournament and the level of tennis being offered. “You could see that the guys are pushed to the limit. This was not the kind of game that we see in demonstration games.”
Amritraj believes the UTR Pro Match Series as a good way to gradually bring them back tennis to the fans. “It’s really a series to show that it is possible to play tennis in a safe manner.”