Thursday, July 23, 2020

Gauff Enters WTA Event in Lexington; WTA Fall China Swing Off; Feature on Top African Junior Boys; Covid-19 Brings Tennis Issues to Forefront; Collins Explains WTT Bubble Breach

The WTA International event that will kick off the return of professional tour tennis in the United States keeps adding big names to its field. The Top Seed Open in Nicholasville Kentucky initially announced that Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens would be a part of its field. Since then, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Anisimova and Coco Gauff have also committed to play in the event, which begins August 10th. According to this Lexington Herald-Leader article, the draw size is 32 for singles and 16 for doubles. I assume there will be wild cards available, but have not heard anything about those yet.

News broke today that the WTA tournaments in China are being canceled, which leaves a huge hole in the fall calendar for women. Chris Clarey of The New York Times provides details on what this means for women's professional tennis, as well as other pro sports scheduled for that part of the world.

It's rare for an African junior to break into the ITF Junior Top 100, and the top girl from Africa, Sada Nahimana of Brundi, is continuing her quest to play professional tennis with a commitment to play at North Carolina State. Tumani Carayol of The Guardian has an update on two African boys who are currently in the Top 25 in the ITF Junior World Rankings: Khololwam Montsi of South Africa and Eliakim Coulibaly of Cote D'Ivoire.  There isn't any mention of college in the article, but Montsi older brother Siphosothando, who is referenced briefly, is currently a rising junior at the University of Illinois.

Peter Bodo of ESPN has published a thorough review of what he thinks tennis has learned about itself in this months-long interruption. All of it is interesting, but I thought the call for a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set was the "hot take" of the article. Is it time for that, if not in slams, then in ATP and WTA events? I'm not convinced, but I do find it preferable to the many other shortening options tried recently.

Danielle Collins has spoken about her dismissal from World Team Tennis, saying she was not aware that she was prohibited from leaving the site, although WTT CEO Carlos Silva said it was mentioned to players on two different occasions. For more from Collins and Silva, see this article from The New York Times.