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Collins 'dismissed' from World TeamTennis over COVID-19 protocol breach

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - 2020 World TeamTennis - The Greenbrier, West Virginia, United States - July 16, 2020 Danielle Collins in action during the New York Empire v Orlando Storm match Ryan Nixon/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) - American Danielle Collins has been dismissed from the World TeamTennis event in West Virginia for breaking COVID-19 protocols, organisers said on Tuesday.

One of only a few live sports events allowing fans in North America to attend amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the entire three-week regular season of the WTT is being held at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.

“We have dismissed Danielle Collins ... for the remainder of the 2020 World TeamTennis season after breaking our COVID-19 protocols and leaving The Greenbrier Resort and the state of West Virginia,” WTT Chief Executive Carlos Silva said in a statement.

“The protocols have been put in place and communicated numerous times to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff which are of utmost importance to WTT.”

The organisers did not provide details about the travel undertaken by the 26-year-old Collins, who made the semi-finals of the 2019 Australian Open.

Collins last month criticized Novak Djokovic after the men’s world number one said it would be “impossible” to play this year’s U.S. Open under COVID-19 protocols proposed by organisers.

Multiple Grand Slam winners Venus Williams of the United States and Belgian Kim Clijsters, who is making a comeback to professional tennis, are among the top draws in the innovative mixed-gender league.

Safety measures taken by WTT to curb the potential spread of the virus include COVID-19 testing for participants and regular temperature checks, with organisers letting a maximum of 500 fans inside the 2,500-person stadium.

Frances Tiafoe, who reached the quarter-finals at the 2019 Australian Open, was forced to drop out of the WTT events after testing positive for COVID-19 while playing at the All-American Team Cup exhibition tournament in Atlanta.

Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly in Mumbai; editing by Peter Rutherford and Richard Pullin

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