Tennis NRS: Nadal withdraws from home tourney
This week, news, rumors, and speculation were swirling. The pot was stirred by some of the biggest names in the game. Will Roger be able to take credit for something that no one else has been able to do in 40 years? Djokovic promotes monetary support for the bottom of the tour, and a certain ATP star questions the value of all the players at the bottom. All this and more, in Tennis NRS.
Billie Jean King's 50-year dream Roger's dream
20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer hopped on Twitter to discuss merging the ATP and WTA, asking if he was the only one that thinks it's a good idea. In an attempt to stay positive during the shutdown of professional tennis, Federer stated that this could be an ideal time to discuss the future state off the two pro tennis leagues. Nadal chimed in, agreeing with Federer, stating that he “completely agrees that it would be great to get out of this world crisis with the union of men's and women's tennis in one only organisation." Many people have noted that 39-time Grand Slam winner Billie Jean King has been saying this since the 1970s. The New York Times' Christopher Clarey interviewed her here.
Most support a fund for lower-ranked players
Novak Djokovic, currently the highest ranked player on the ATP, has stated that he would like to set up a fund to help lower-ranking (No. 200+) tennis players financially hit by the COVID-19 Pandemic. During an Instagram Live session, Djokovic revealed that he had already talked to Rodger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the matter. The three Grand Slam superstars discussed working with the ATP to help bail out the lower-ranked players and “how [they] can contribute and help lower-ranked guys who obviously are struggling the most."
Enter Dominic Thiem, who quickly chimed in to note that “No tennis player is fighting to survive, even those who are much lower-ranked. None of them are going to starve,” Thiem told Austrian newspaper Krone. “I don’t really see why I should give such players money,” he added. “I'd rather donate to people & institutions, who really need it. There is no profession in the world, where you are guaranteed success and high income at the start of your career. None of the top players took anything for granted. We all had to fight our way up the rankings,” he added. For the moment, Domi doesn't play too many events with lower-ranked players nearby, but he might have put a little target on his back with these thoughts.
The “fifth Slam” hosts a Slam?
The US Open: Bright lights, big city, covered stadiums... in the desert? Rumors have persisted about the US Open possibly relocating to Indian Wells Tennis Garden this fall in a new-look US Open outside of the Big Apple. Is it true? We don't know. Is it fun to consider all the challenges to making this real? For a few moments, for sure.
Tennis is (virtually) back!
The Madrid Open is back, but not in its usual physical form. As of Monday, April 27th, 32 players from the WTA and ATP are competing in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, a video-game edition of the famous Spanish clay-court tournament. For obvious reasons, players will not be competing for ATP or WTA points in what is the first “pro tennis event” since Covid-19 lock down procedures began. However, players will be playing for €150,000, which is to be distributed to players financially struggling as a result of the pandemic. (See above to imagine how Dominic Thiem might feel about players needing financial support.) Interestingly enough, there have already been a few withdrawals from the event—even one due to injury!
The postponing of the postponing of the tours
Finally, MARCA is reporting that the ATP and WTA are preparing a fourth tour suspension. This would postpone the tours until at least August 3rd. The following events would be affected:
- ATP: Hamburg, Newport, Bastad, Los Cabos, Gstaad, Umag, Atlanta, and Kitzbuhel
- WTA: Bucarest, Lausanne, Palermo, Jurmala, and Karlsruhe
This guy might have a Roland Garros trophy on his shelf at home, but these days he's spending time stocking other shelves.
Tennis NRS is short for Tennis News, Rumors, and Speculation. This series is your place for tennis updates during the 2019–2020 coronavirus pandemic. Stay tuned for frequent briefs here and on social media: follow us on Facebook to hear when new posts are published.
Photo: Carine06 on Flickr