Monday, June 22, 2020

More Positive Covid-19 Tests From Adria Exhibition Competitors; 18s American Clay Court Nationals Underway; August's $25K Pro Circuit Event in Illinois a Go; Kenin and Stephens Head Fields in Tuesday's Credit One Bank Invitational in Charleston

Yesterday's announcement from Grigor Dimitrov that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus was followed today by the news that his opponent in Saturday's exhibition match in Croatia, ATP No. 33 Borna Coric, has also tested positive, as has Viktor Troicki, who played last weekend's Adria Tour stop in Serbia, but did not play in this past weekend's event in Croatia. Also testing positive are Dimitrov's fitness coach Marko Paniki, and his coach Christian Groh, who served as Brandon Nakashima's coach for several years prior to joining Dimitrov's team. Alexander Zverev, Andrey Rublev and Marin Cilic, who also played in the same Adria series tournament in Zadar Croatia over the weekend have tested negative; test results for organizer Novak Djokovic are expected to be announced on Tuesday. For more on other players' reactions, see this tennis.com article.

Obviously this has major implications for the resumption of the ATP (and WTA) tours, as well as the US Open. If it leads to a genuine realization that the virus is truly dangerous, not just for those who are older and less healthy, but for young athletes and citizens of all countries, it could be an important wake-up call, one that could save lives. But it also could lead organizations to the conclusion that tennis is just too dangerous, too global and too self-absorbed to mitigate the risks, and an even longer shutdown could result.

A glimmer of hope for actual pro tennis managed to break through all the gloom of the positive tests with the news that the $25,000 USTA Pro Circuit Ursula Beck tournament in Decatur Illinois, originally scheduled for August 3-9, is still planning to host its event, albeit at a later date, August 17-23. 

"The local tennis community is excited to help the United States Tennis Association (USTA) reopen professional men's tennis in the United States," said Chuck Kuhle, Tournament Director of the event. "Tennis, along with so many other sports, had been suspended since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The USTA has always respected our tournament and we are happy they have the confidence in our organization to be a part of returning professional tennis back to our country We will run the tournament with safety guidelines provided to us be the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the USTA. I am thrilled that the Beck family, as well as the Decatur Park District, have stepped up to the plate once again."

The tournament does not yet appear on the ITF World Tennis Tour calendar, but that should change when the updated calendar is released.

The 18s American Clay Court Nationals is underway at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, with qualifying for the boys event completed yesterday and round robin play beginning today. The girls event, which did not have enough entries to warrant a qualifying draw Sunday, has six round robin groups, while the boys tournament has eight round robin groups. The top finisher in each of the round robin groups will advance to the quarterfinals; I assume that two second place finishers will advance to the girls quarterfinals. The tournament organizers announced last night that doubles tournaments were being added.

As a reminder, entries for the 16s tournament, scheduled for next week, close on Tuesday night. I wrote about the events for Tennis Recruiting Network last week.

One of the biggest women's exhibition events begins on Tuesday afternoon in Charleston South Carolina, with a Laver Cup-like competition, called the Credit One Bank Invitational, featuring 16 top women. Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands are the captains of the two teams, with grand slam champions Sofia Kenin and Sloane Stephens leading the entries. (US Open champion Bianca Andreescu was among the announced participants, but she withdrew). Others competing in the event are Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Anisimova, Monica Puig, Ajla Tomljanovic, Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, Shelby Rogers, Genie Bouchard, Jennifer Brady, Leylah Fernandez, Emma Navarro and Caroline Dolehide. Tennis Channel will have coverage beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday.


Jon King said...

Djokovic and his wife have tested positive.

Guest said...

This will sound like a devils advocate, but there have been numerous positive tests among the young people where I live. We are in a hotspot. Plenty of tennis players have tested positive. However, more than half have been asymptomatic and the other half have maybe had a 999-100 fever for 1 day or less. Yes there are issues for the elderly and vulnerable. That fact has issues for administrators of tennis events who could be older. And maybe here in certain areas of the US we actually have a less effective strain of the virus. However, most young people and even the parents who I know that have had the virus are actually more emboldened than concerned after their recovery. The virus has had much less effect than a regular cold in our hotspot zone for those under 75-80. Yes. Wash hands and wear masks as much as possible.

I know others will criticize this, but I’m just sharing what I am seeing. By the way, my large tennis facility has stayed open for play all pandemic with no known transmissions among employees or coaches. People have contracted the virus elsewhere. Just not at the tennis facility.

Guest said...

“If it leads to a genuine realization that the virus is truly dangerous, not just for those who are older and less healthy, but for young athletes and citizens of all countries, it could be an important wake-up call, one that could save lives.“ My main point is that some (mostly young) people are actually viewing the virus as less dangerous after dealing with it. While the situation with the Pros may cause people to view the virus as really dangerous, it’s also possible that (not saying it’s right or wrong) some people can take a different view .

MD said...

As a physician I sometimes see lung CTs in "asymptomatic" patients. What's striking is while the patients may not have severe symptoms (and sometimes no symptoms) we see ground glass opacities on lung CTs. This may portend a problem in the future months, years down the road even for young healthy individuals.

SeminoleG said...

Honestly what $Millionaire would risk their livelihood when a delay of 6-8 Months would do little to affect their wealth. What investment banker would risk $1M knowing that in 8months (assuming a vaccine will come) to earn ZERO dollars toady.

So this is not about who gets COVID and who doesn't, it is about mitigating risk, because all it takes is a Young Tennis player to be like the 20yo Health Female that needed Double Lung Transplant, or the 30yo Male that has liver failure as a result of COVID.

My 25 year Military career was spent "Mitigating" risk, and this is a NO BRAINER. Why because a few months mean more therapeutics, data, and treatments.

Tennis likes to BRAG about the sport getting "older" as play improves, so can't see how 6-8 months delay is a big deal.

Personally I'd not advise ANY Player to travel or play in any event at least thru the summer, and re-evaluate for the fall.

I do know that an agent friend of mine has been told to ask clients that want to compete to sign waivers absolving events of any liability should they get COVID. He's advising NO ONE sign one.

Jon King said...

MD and SeminoleG, I too am amazed by the lax attitudes. Like MD said, we have no idea the long term implications and if even a healthy athlete is compromising their futures. The reports of various effects on the body and organs, not just the initial infection, should make everyone take it seriously.

I just do not get why Djokovic needed to take zero precautions, play soccer and basketball at the tournament, go party at night. Why not wear a mask when not playing, use some of the rules they did at other tournaments? Just bizarre how some can not at least meet us halfway and wear masks and distance until we get things under control.

We live in Palm Beach County and they just announced masks are mandatory in public indoor areas. No big deal, we can still exercise and play tennis. Just wear the dang mask for now when you are indoors in public. How is this so hard when it means a quicker return to some normalcy?

SeminoleG said...

Well my son has mild asthma, and we regularly see a Pulmonologists. I would not expect the general public to understand the complete picture of COVID, given we speak to a specialist that has . We can fault many but hard to argue that the CDC has done a good job informing the masses. BUT with the resources the top ATP and WTA players have as well as the TOURs leaders themselves I cannot excuse ignorance. We see TRN and UTR trying to "Ramp up Tennis." WHY...... Frankly it is irresponsible and given 256 Players in MYC for the USOP, I would not be surprised if at least 5 People have a negative COVID experience. We will feel sorry for them? I've got a lot more pressing things to think about.

Jon King said...

The USTA has already cut 210 jobs and reduced all other salaries by 20%. They say they will lean even more on volunteers when tennis returns. No US Open and its game over for many more USTA employees. I see this as a pure hail Mary survival play for USTA executives and their jobs. UTR is making inroads with tournaments, slowly but surely. Juniors may look to play UTR events even when USTAs return.

Marty Collins said...

I can tell you NorCal junior tennis is off indefinitely. I see no daylight for restart. UTR will definitely become a refuge for committed players.