Wednesday, March 18, 2020

My Article on COVID-19 Virus Leading to Abrupt Ending of ITF World Junior Event in Dominican Republic; ITF, ATP and WTA Extend Suspension of Tours Through June 7; Free "How to Improve Sport-Family Conversations" Webinar Thursday

I spoke to both Nishesh Basavareddy and USTA National Coach Jose Caballero after they returned from last week's ITF Grade 2 in the Dominican Republic for this article, posted today at the Tennis Recruiting Network. As if all the uncertainty that began circulating after the cancellation of Indian Wells wasn't producing enough anxiety, Basavareddy had a bag (not his tennis bag) stolen at the site, and discovered the next day that his passport had been in it. Fortunately, an emergency passport was issued by the US Embassy and the USTA coaches and players in their care all returned home safely.

Basavareddy hopes to continue training privately in the Indianapolis area, but Caballero told me he will be confined to off-court work for at least the next two weeks, and as that conversation was two days ago, that may have been extended by now.

Both told me that because cases of the viral infection had not been reported in Costa Rica or in the Dominican Republic, they were not particularly frightened while there, but understood the reason that everyone had to leave as soon as they were able to make arrangements.

The ITF, ATP and WTA announced today that the professional tennis suspension has been extended from April 20 to June 7, and that also includes the ITF junior circuit. The ITF announcement is here; the joint ATP and WTA announcement is here, with another shot at the French Federation for its unilateral date change for the French Open announced yesterday. The ATP and WTA are freezing rankings; there is no mention of how rankings will be handled in the ITF release.

If in that best-case scenario tennis does resume on June 8th, the Oracle Pro Series has a women's $60K in Fort Worth and a men's ATP Challenger 80 in Dallas on the schedule. There is a USTA Pro Circuit women's $15K in Fountain Valley California and men's $25K in Wichita Kansas that week as well. The ITF Junior Circuit in the US features three South Florida Grade 4s in May that are now postponed, with the first ITF junior event in the US when play resumes the Grade 4 International Grass Court Championships in Philadelphia, beginning June 22.

With so many of us spending much more time at home now, it's a great time to explore many of the online educational options available, and one that might be of interest to tennis families is David Benzel's Growing Champions for Life series. I spoke to David many years ago for a tennis parenting article I wrote for the USTA Champions magazine and I have been on his mailing list ever since. I can't say I've had the time to participate in many of these free webinars, but I always read the emails about them, which provide a lot thoughtful approaches to making youth athletics a positive force for a family. This is not a tennis-specific series, but I've seen very little that would not be relevant to junior tennis.

Tomorrow's (March 19, 9 p.m. EDT) webinar is "How to Improve Sport-Family Conversations" and you can register for the free webinar here. Below is a screenshot from the email I received about the webinar topic: