Danielle Collins ‘dismissed’ by World Team Tennis after breaching COVID-19 safety protocols

hannahwilks in News 21 Jul 2020
Danielle Collins has been dismissed for the remainder of the 2020 WTT season after leaving quarantine bubble (AAP Image/Albert Perez)

The USA’s Danielle Collins has been dismissed from the World Team Tennis (WTT) event in West Virginia after breaking COVID-19 protocols.

WTT CEO Carlos Silva issued a brief ‘player note’ on Tuesday, reading:

‘We have dismissed Danielle Collins (Orlando Storm) 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.

‘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 current WTT season began on 12 July and runs until 2 August, with Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and the Bryan brothers among players on the roster.

Currently ranked world no. 51, Collins – a former college player – has been ranked as high as world no. 23 on the WTA Tour. She was a semifinalist at the Australian Open in 2019, and reached the semifinals of the WTA Premier event in Adelaide in January before the ATP and WTA Tour seasons were shut down in March.

Professional tennis came to a screeching and unprecedented halt in March due to the global health crisis, and tournaments have had to negotiate unknown territory as they try to figure out how to take place safely.

The WTT, which is normally played in different venues, had limited itself to playing in one – the Greenbrier in West Virginia. The stadium has limited attendance to just 20% of its capacity, with spacing between seated groups as well as mandatory masks and temperature checks. On court, there have been no ball kids and no lines judges, with players asked to limit physical contact.

A quarantine ‘bubble’ for 175 players and staff was established, with no players allowed on court without a negative test for COVID-19.
Collins has not issued any statement, and her Instagram account seems to have been deleted.

The American player had recently called out Novak Djokovic for ‘contradictory’ comments about the US Open. Djokovic had said that it would be ‘impossible’ to play the US Open with only one staff member. In an Instagram video, Collins complained: ‘It would be nice to have the best player in the world supporting this opportunity and not spoiling it for players and fans!’

Projected restrictions have since been relaxed, with players being allowed to rent private houses in Manhattan rather than being confined to hotels.

Professional tennis is scheduled to resume on 3 August, with the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy. The first tournaments to take place on US soil are scheduled to be the ATP 500 Citi Open in Washington, D.C. from 14-21 August and the WTA International Top Seed Open in Lexington, Kentucky from 10-16 August. Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens have committed to playing in Lexington.

Players hoping to compete at the US Open, which will be played behind closed doors from 31 August-13 September, will have the opportunity to warm up for it at the Western & Southern Open, which has been relocated from Cincinnati to New York and will take place from 22-28 August.