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Martic advances, Vondrousova falls in Palermo

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Vekić strikes first ball back in Palermo

Donna Vekić goes down in history as the first player to win a tour-level match in the post-shutdown era when, 5 months after the last WTA tournament took place, the Palermo Open re-started the WTA Tour on Monday on the Italian island of Sicily, while the pandemic that...

It’s a welcome return with an uncertain future

While the return of professional tennis is more than welcome, it is a cautious one bearing in mind that the Washington event on the ATP Tour was cancelled a few weeks back and there is still uncertainty regarding the US Open.

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Alexander ‘The Lion’ Zverev needed Sudden Death to beat Felix ‘The Panther’ Auger-Aliassime and become king of the Ultimate Tennis Showdown jungle on Sunday.

WTA Tour resumes in Palermo

The 31st Ladies Open Palermo kicks off in Sicily on Monday, marking the resumption of the WTA Tour after five months suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic and the exhibition events that have peppered the calendar since March wrapped up at the weekend.

The British Bulldogs just edge it

As the organiser of the Battle of the Brits Team event, Jamie Murray couldn’t have been more delighted that, after a week’s highly competitive play, the final outcome of the event wasn’t settled until the last match.

New York Empire win World TeamTennis 2020

New York Empire defeated Chicago Smash, 21-20 in a supertiebreaker, to win the 2020 World Team Tennis season in a nail-biting finish at West Virginia’s Greenbrier Resort on Sunday, and hoist the King Trophy for the first time.
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US Open expected to happen despite criticisms

Expectations of a US Open announcement on Monday were thwarted as speculation continues over the viability of staging the hard court Grand Slam in New York on its scheduled dates in September.

We're following each step in the procedure that we need to with the great hope that we can announce that the 2020 US Open will be played in its regularly scheduled date. We hope to make an announcement regarding the status of the 2020 U.S. Open in the very near future. Chris Widmaier, USTA Director of Communications

According to reports, the USTA is awaiting approval from state health officials on its plan to stage the event as planned, despite New York City still recording hundreds of new COVID-19 cases every day., but it will be held without spectators and with strict limitations on players and attending personnel.

An announcement is now expected on Wednesday, but in the meantime many players, including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are unhappy about the restrictive rules surrounding playing the US Open in a quarantined environment.

With reduced entourages, the players will be required to stay at hotels by the LaGuardia Airport and banned from visiting Manhattan.

One player, however, who apparently is pumped up to play at Flushing Meadows, is Andy Murray, according to Spain’s Feliciano Lopez.

The former World No 1 claimed his maiden Major title there in 2012 when he edged out Djokovic in a five-set US Open final.

Murray, 33, hasn’t played since the inaugural Davis Cup Finals, which took place last November.

“Actually two days ago I was talking to him, and he was really pumped about the US Open,’’ Lopez told a small group of journalists over Zoom on Friday, according to Metro UK. “He was starting to practise again.

“I asked about the hip, how it was feeling, and he was positive.

“He might be able to compete again. I’m crossing my fingers to see Andy playing again, of course. It would be great for everybody, especially for him.

“He needs to wait a little bit to see how the hip is going to respond, but he was positive.

“He has started to play a little bit, and I think he’s really keen to play if the US Open is finally happening.”

The USTA has been in negotiations with ATP and WTA officials over its plan to restart tennis, kicking it off at Flushing Meadows on 16 August.

The Rogers Cup in Canada and the Winston Salem Open will be removed from the schedule, while the Western & Southern Open, which is normally played in Mason, Ohio, will begin a week before the Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center to create a three week hard court swing.

Under normal circumstances, both the men and women play in Cincinnati two weeks before the Open as the last significant tuneup.

The USTA’s Director of Communications Chris Widmaier said in an email to Reuters: “We’re following each step in the procedure that we need to with the great hope that we can announce that the 2020 U.S. Open will be played in its regularly scheduled date.

“We hope to make an announcement regarding the status of the 2020 U.S. Open in the very near future.”

The US Open has little flexibility in terms of dates since the French Open moved from May to late September.


Rafael Nadal is uncertain about defending his title in New York

Roger Federer will not be playing in New York as he is recovering from another minor knee procedure and will return in 2021.

In addition to Djokovic and Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, who has been in lockdown in Australia since the pandemic brought a halt to the ATP Tour, appeared more concerned about having to undergo 14 days of self-isolation upon his return home from Flushing Meadows.

“People that live in the US of course are pushing (for) the Open to go ahead ‘Selfish’,” the World No 40 posted on Twitter.

“I’ll get my hazmat suit ready for when I travel from Australia and then have to quarantine for two weeks on my return.”

Kyrgios also slammed the ATP as selfish earlier this month for pressing ahead with plans to play the US Open while the virus had not been contained and with the streets of US cities filled with protests at the death of George Floyd.

The 25-year-old also tweeted Djokovic, Federer and Nadal last week to ask them if they felt the tournament should go ahead, but received no public replies from any of them.

Ash Barty and Simona Halep have also said they have concerns about playing under the proposed health protocols designed to keep them safe.

Despite the health concerns, American player Danielle Collins has called on the event to go ahead to give players the chance to earn money again, and criticised Djokovic for his opposition to the protocols proposed by organisers.

“It’s easy when someone’s made $150 million throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open,” she posted on social media last week.

No professional tennis tournaments have been held since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left the sport’s calendar in tatters, and the shutdown will extend until August.





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