The World TeamTennis season will hold its entire three-week season at a single site this summer, CEO Carlos Silva announced Monday.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Silva announced, “World TeamTennis has made the decision that due to the coronavirus outbreak it would be inappropriate for players, staff and fans to travel between nine host cities and will now hold the three-week competition in one city. The league will follow all CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and state guidelines, as safety is our top priority.”
The WTT teams are the New York Empire; Orange County Breakers (Newport Beach, Calif.); Orlando Storm; Philadelphia Freedom; San Diego Aviators (Carlsbad, Calif.), Springfield (Mo.) Lasers; Vegas Rollers (Las Vegas); Washington (D.C.) Kastles; and the expansion Chicago Smash.
Silva wrote, “Our World TeamTennis host cities have all been affected by both the virus and ‘stay-at-home’ orders to varying degrees. Some states remain closed with no immediate plans to re-open, while several other states are phasing in increased levels of activity.
“While we remain hopeful that the WTT season will begin on July 12, as originally scheduled, we have concluded that it is not possible for players, staff and fans to complete the necessary air travel to and from our nine host cities.”
The release added that teams still will be competing for $1 million in playoff prize money.
WTT matches include men’s and women’s singles and doubles plus mixed doubles.
The Lasers are the reigning WTT champions, having beaten the New York Empire in the 2019 finals.
The 2020 Vegas team will include Las Vegas resident Sam Querrey as well as doubles greats Mike Bryan and Bob Bryan.
Another former U.S. Davis Cup player, Steve Johnson, will play for Orange County. Francis Tiafoe and Tennys Sandgren, both WTT veterans, are due to compete in 2020, too.
Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open women’s champion, will be the headliner on the new Chicago team, and 2020 Australian Open women’s champions Sofia Kenin is slated to play for Philadelphia.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King and then-husband Larry King were among the co-founders of the WTT, which began play in 1974.
—Field Level Media