Tennis NRS: tennis is back; will the French Open return?
Kyrgios and Murray schedule a chat while the world looks to Roland Garros and the Spanish federation to see if we'll catch any action on red clay this year. Also in this week's round-up: live fans have been replaced by livestock at the UTR event in West Palm Beach.
When's the French Open again?
Roland Garros, the iconic clay-court Grand Slam that’s been notoriously hard to schedule around this year, has given alert to another potentially incoming tournament update. The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in May to send off the clay-court season. Due to shifting concerns regarding the novel coronavirus, it was rescheduled on top of the Laver Cup at the end of September. As more and more ATP and WTA events were canceled or postponed in the the last month, the French Tennis Federation rescheduled the tournament once more. It’s currently slated to end on October 4th.
This week, as the FFT began the process of refunding tickets purchased for the original tournament dates, a new question became apparent. Will Roland Garros have any attendees this year? Bernard Giudicelli, president of the FFT, made it very clear in a follow-up interview that they are not ruling out the idea of holding the Slam “behind closed doors.” Perhaps the old hypothetical will be adapted for the moment; “If Nadal wins the French Open, but nobody is there to see it...”
Tennis is back, much to our a-moo-sement
Live tennis is back in West Palm Beach, Florida. Topnotch Management's own Reilly Opelka was crowned the champion of the men’s UTR Pro Match Series on Saturday. As one one of the first displays of live tennis since the COVID-19 shutdown, a lot of new health procedures were implemented to reduce the risk of infection for staff and athletes over the two days. Court fixtures were cleaned rigorously, temperature checks became the new normal, and masks were required for all staff.
The exhibition series was played without any fans in attendance, with the notable exception of one new tennis fan. A large cow became seemingly interested in the match and decided to hang out courtside for the day. Tennis Channel suggested the name “Mooria Sharapova,” but we are more inclined towards “Reilly O-Milk-A.”
UTR will also be hosting a women's two-day exhibition event starting on May 22 and featuring Amanda Anisimova, Alison Riske, Ajla Tomljanovic, and Danielle Collins.
Banter by Nick and Andy
It seems Nick Kyrgios and Andy Murray will be talking to each other on Instagram Live this Saturday, at 3 PM UK time. Based on Kyrgios's tweet it's hard to say what they'll be talking about, but both Murray and Kyrgios have proven to be good conversationalists, so we'll check out the highlights for sure.
A Spanish tennis series
The professional tennis tours have officially been put on halt for the first time since the Second World War. The Spanish Tennis Federation is picking up some of the slack and planning a series of four 125k events to start on July 10th.
According to Spanish sports media group MARCA, several ATP Top 100 players are interested in getting some clay on their shoes. Additional details will be announced at a later date. Two of these events will be in a team format, while the other two will have regular singles or doubles matches. It remains to be seen if this is something that other national federations will organize as a way to provide fan entertainment, as well as to keep players within their federation employed.
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: screenshot of “UTR Pro Match Series Day 2” by MyUTR on Youtube