World TeamTennis has chosen The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia as the host site for its three-week season beginning July 12, marking the return of pro tennis in the United States as the ATP and WTA Tours remain in limbo.
Among the players who have committed to play the WTT season are reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, former U.S. Open winner Sloane Stephens, former world No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov and legendary doubles team Bob and Mike Bryan.
The WTT competition combines men’s and women’s singles, doubles, and mixed doubles into a rapid-fire, five-set match with teams representing nine cities. But with a home/away format impractical this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the WTT sought to pull all of its teams to a single site that will feature at least three matches per day in a 2,500-seat stadium.
The WTT said it will allow up to 500 fans, which amounts to 20 percent capacity, to attend the matches in accordance with local health guidelines.
“The overwhelming feedback from our players is that they want to play WTT and are comfortable in doing so in a safe environment, which is our number one priority,” WTT chief executive Carlos Silva said in a release. “West Virginia has among the nation’s fewest cases of COVID-19 and I’m grateful to The Greenbrier, the city of White Sulphur Springs, and (Greenbrier president) Dr. Jill Justice for being so welcoming and allowing World TeamTennis to play on in 2020.”
The WTT will distribute $5 million in prize money during its season, including a $500,000 bonus to the championship team. The matches will be broadcast on CBS, CBS Sports Network, Tennis Channel, and ESPN+.
Though some pro tennis players have participated in localized exhibition matches, the resumption of the ATP and WTA Tours remains in question. Due to the heavy amount of international travel involved just to put on one tournament, it’s unclear when tournament tennis will resume.
Currently, all tour events have been canceled through July with many stakeholders hoping that the U.S. hard court swing will be able to go on as scheduled. The USTA has kept all options open in hopes of playing the U.S. Open.
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