Sunday, May 31, 2020

Gauff, Osaka, Tiafoe Speak Out; Allaster Provides a Look at US Open Scenarios

Those of you who read my posts regularly know I focus solely on tennis news, with an emphasis on junior and college players. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought public health conversations into the forefront recently and with very little actual tennis to cover, I've tried to provide news about how it has affected tennis. But I haven't tried to go beyond that, because that's not why you read this.

In other words, I "stick to sports", which, unfortunately, seems like a luxury now. The past few days, in the wake of the death of George Floyd, have been heart-breaking, disturbing, frightening and maddening. My memories of 1968, one of the worst years in this country's history, come flooding back, and although my despair is obviously insignificant when compared to those less privileged, those who have suffered so much, it's real to me. And ignoring that right now seems insincere. So consider this my statement in support of social justice and law enforcement accountability and against all the forces working against those fundamental principles.

Sixteen-year-old Coco Gauff and 22-year-old Naomi Osaka are using their platforms to call attention to the disheartening litany of African-American deaths, and Steve Tignor at tennis.com has written about the ways both have added to the conversation, as well as the other tennis players who have addressed topics outside the sport of tennis.

2015 Kalamazoo champion Frances Tiafoe and his girlfriend Ayan Broomfield, the 2019 NCAA doubles champion at UCLA, released this video on social media today:

As for tennis, yesterday the Associated Press talked with USTA's head of Pro Tennis Stacey Allaster about the status of the US Open, and she said that having the event in New York, during the usual two-week period this summer, is the most likely scenario. Among the issues discussed are testing, charter flights, entourage sizes, number of officials, ballrunners, and reduced sets for men. New locker rooms and procedures around that area of the tournament and practice protocols are discussed as well.

As for fans being in attendance, the AP article features several quotes from Lew Sherr, the USTA's chief revenue officer, on that topic.
[He] told the AP it is "less and less likely" spectators would be at the US Open this year. 
That, Sherr said, means "forgoing ticketing revenue, forgoing hospitality revenue, forgoing a portion of your sponsorship revenue." But TV and digital-rights fees, plus remaining sponsorship dollars, are "significant enough that it's still worth it to go forward with a no-fans-on-site US Open," he said.
As of now, according to Allaster, the USTA will make its decision regarding the US Open in mid- to late-June.


birdword said...

Tiafoe and Broomfield's twitter statement is crucial. In contrast, the proud Trump supporter, John Isner could not be moved to say anything on Twitter in support of George Floyd, only to criticize protesters he calls "anarchists".

Rebuttal said...

Look at his tweets again. He called people defacing and burning an historic church in DC anarchists. Which they are.

Jon King said...

Isner said "arrest them all". Not just looters, but anyone he said who is even breaking a window. He really needs to stop commenting on the issue. Isner has gone crazy multiple times in his career, busting racquets and yelling. So he can guarantee if he had been subjected to police brutality his entire life that he could not react by vandalism? Give me a break. He has zero clue how he would react if he had been born poor, seen his grandparents and parents abused by police, and felt he had little future.

So his anger and breaking things would only come out when something in tennis goes against him> Give me a break.

birdword said...

My point was that Isner is not moved to ever tweet about social justice, only people he labels as: "(Arrest) these anarchist losers." The vast majority were not anarchists or losers, but Isner can only view this specific protest through his privileged lens. Let's see how he reacts to Mariann Budde, the Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C., who told the Washington Post on Monday she was "not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop."

Budde tweeted later that the president "used a Bible and a church of my diocese as a backdrop for a message antithetical to the teachings of Jesus and everything that our church stands for. To do so, he sanctioned the use of tear gas by police officers in riot gear to clear the church yard," she continued. "The President did not come to pray; he did not lament the death of George Floyd or acknowledge the collective agony of people of color in our nation. He did not attempt to heal or bring calm to our troubled land."

My bet is that Isner will say nothing about Pastor Budde's comments, nor the peaceful protesters, nor Trump's cynical and divisive attempt to cast blame on those moved to express their deepest felt sadness over a society where white suprematists are defended as "very fine people."