The 2020 (RE)Open tour continued last weekend on a private, single court in West Palm Beach, Fla. It may have looked very unusual as masks covered faces and racquet taps replaced handshakes. But, tennis is back, and it provided a glimmer of hope to not just players but also fans.
The old normal may not be back, but live tennis is. On Friday, the UTR Pro Match Series kicked off and featured four Top-100 players: Tommy Paul, Reilly Opelka, Hubert Hurkacz and Miomer Kecmanovic.
American Opelka may have been a little tired by the end of the two-day event, but he walked out as the winner. The world No. 39 went 3-1 in the Florida tournament, defeating Miomer Kecmanovic in the final, 4-3, 2-4, 4-2, to seal the title.
Upon entering the site, all players and coaches consulted with on-site nurses. Kecmanovic and everyone else was asked health questions and had their temperatures checked before being granted access.
Instead of the typical handshake or even a hug at the net, players kept their distance by tapping their racquets. The "racquet tap" could become the new normal indefinitely.
From the fences to the benches, everything was disinfected repeatedly. Johanna Orellana, who is a part of the UTR cleaning crew, said that she loves sports and loves being apart of bringing them back safely.
"My concern is I want them to be safe, and I want them to go in there and say, you know what we are going to play because it's clean," she said.