Friday, May 8, 2020

Opelka Claims Two Wins to Open UTR Pro Match Series; Mouratoglou Event Delayed; Recruiting During Pandemic; USTA Sectional Update Including SoCal and Florida

The Tennis Channel production of the UTR Pro Match Series kicked off today, with four Top 100 ATP pros competing on a private court in West Palm Beach, Florida. Due to injuries to Matteo Berrettini and Tennys Sandgren, substitutes were necessary, with Hubert Hurkacz of Poland and Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia added to the quartet that included Tommy Paul and Reilly Opelka.

With bad weather in Sunday's forecast, the event has been shortened to two days, with the final and third place matches scheduled for later Saturday after the completion of round robin play. Opelka picked up wins over Kecmanovic and Paul today to go 2-0, while Hurkacz beat Paul and Kecmanovic beat Hurkacz to go 1-1, leaving Paul at 0-2.

The Fast Four format, with no-ad, sets to four, etc. is not interesting to me, but with two matches scheduled each day in the round robin, it's probably necessary. All four players looked rusty to me, but this rendition was certainly a step up from the Tennis Point series going on in Germany production-wise, and after a set or two, the social distancing measures don't seem too distracting.

Tennis.com has a coverage of each of today's matches, along with on-demand replays and explanations of the health and safety precautions in this article.

The Mouratoglou Academy was scheduled to begin its Ultimate Tennis Showdown pro matches next week, but that has been delayed until June 13th, "in order to obtain the necessary authorizations and compliances from the French government with regard to Coronavirus mitigation," according to this TennisNow article. Lucas Pouille (ATP 58) and Dustin Brown (ATP 258) have signed on, joining David Goffin, Fabio Fognini, Benoit Paire and Alexei Popyrin.

Tennis Recruiting Network has published an article today on how college coaches are handling the challenges of remote recruiting, with comments from Stanford's Paul Goldstein, USC's Alison Swain, Nebraska's Sean Maymi, Boston's Lesley Sheehan and Bowdoin's Benjamin Lamanna.  On Monday, TRN also provided an update on how they have revised their handling of rankings due to this extended period without any results.

I've continued to monitor the state of the USTA summer sectionals, and several more sections have addressed their schedules since my last update.

Florida is postponing its Bobby Curtis Junior Sectional Championships, SoCal has rescheduled its sectional to the end of July, the Caribbean may reschedule its sectional, but it is not happening in June, and Southwest is postponing its sectional. I anticipate that the remaining sections will make a decision (or the USTA will make the decision for them) by next Friday. Links to the individual sections' Covid-19 updates can be found by clicking on the map here.


UTR Pro Match Series said...

I Would Rather Watch Paint Dry

Mark Klopp said...

These tennis matches are a great first step. Learning how to bring back live tennis and other live sports will take lots of trial and error. Credit to all the people who are working out the details. I enjoyed watching some live competitive tennis.

ESS said...

However small, it's a step in the right direction. We need to be hopeful and optimistic. I don't care if players are rusty or match format is not very exciting, we need to keep moving.