Tennis to start rolling out domestic competitions as tour replacements

andrewhendrie in News 04 May 2020
Tennis Domestic Competitions
An empty Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park (AAP Image/Ellen Smith)

Despite the very real possibility of a normal tennis calendar not resuming until 2021, fans can look forward to watching some of their favourite players in national domestic competitions in the coming weeks and months.

The ATP and WTA tours, along with Challenger and ITF circuits, have been suspended until July 13 at the earliest. There’s every chance the tour won’t return to normal until next year due to the global nature of tennis and essential need to travel internationally almost every week.

But national governing bodies are planning to stage domestic competitions featuring the nation’s best players as a replacement.

Dustin Brown is currently headlining a small exhibition event in Germany, while World No. 8 Matteo Berrettini will lead the start of the UTR Pro Match Series in Florida, USA beginning on May 8. Amanda Anisimova and Alison Riske will take part in the women’s event later in May.

Patrick Mouratoglou has also established a tournament at his Academy in the south of France and will feature players – including the likes of David Goffin and Fabio Fognini – competing in a total of 50 matches throughout May and June.

Now there’s plans for domestic competitions to become the new normal for the foreseeable future.

Jamie Murray is spearheading a British competition that will include both singles and doubles to be played during Wimbledon’s now-vacant spot on the calendar in the summer.

The top eight players from Great Britain would participate, including former World No. 1 Andy Murray and singles stars Kyle Edmund and Dan Evans.

Meanwhile, Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley is expected to announce a domestic tournament in Australia shortly.

“We’ve got one competition which we’re going to be announcing and rolling out and, who knows, it may become a new normal for us at that time of the year, which could be pretty cool,” Tiley told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We’re fortunate that because we’re a sport that you can practice social distance and isolation and still compete, because you’re so far from your opponent,” he said.

“You can switch sides of the court by going [a different] side from the net … and be pretty far from your opponent.

“We do have that luxury when it comes to the sport of tennis, and we’ll certainly use it.”

Spain’s national federation is also in the midst of building domestic tournaments as the country begins to lift some of its lockdown restrictions.

According to federation president Miguel Diaz, there would be a tournament for top 100 players, along with various events for players ranked further down the tennis ladder.

“They are all happy,” Diaz said. “This provides some competition, there will be television, and perhaps some fans even if a smaller number.”