World TeamTennis is moving full speed ahead into a 2020 season with more player commitments being announced. The league will host its entire three-week season at The Greenbrier in West Virginia with an emphasis on safety, a maximum of 500 fans and roughly 50 players taking part.
WTT CEO Carlos Silva recently appeared on Tennis Channel Live and also hosted a press conference (via Zoom) to talk about how the season will unfold.
"To be able to bring fans back and have a little bit of that energy for the players in the stadium eventually made that decision easy for us," Silva said. "We have come up with a basic set of guidelines, and that includes testing on the way in and daily temperature checks."
#WTT2020: World TeamTennis is excited to announce we will be playing our entire 45th season at @the_greenbrier in #WestVirginia. All 66 matches will be televised or live-streamed on @cbstv, @cbssports Network, @tennischannel, @espn+ and WTT.com! #EveryPointCounts Visit WTT.com for all of the details! #WTTFamily #EveryPointCounts #tennis #atp #wta
Starting on July 12, nine teams will compete with four qualifying for the playoffs, with the final set for August 3. Safety will be a big part of executing the full season successfully, and the Greenbrier Resort website states that anyone with a fever of 100.4 F or greater will be turned away.
"It's also great that from the hotel to the court players can walk," Silva said, having considered Florida, Nevada and Texas, among others. "West Virginia has had a low instance of COVID-19, lower than most of the states in America. Here at the resort they have a great list of guidelines. It gave us great comfort."
The 60+ matches will be played in a 2,500-seat stadium (at 20 percent capacity) and broadcast across multiple platforms including Tennis Channel, ESPN+, Facebook and CBS.
Committed players so far include Sloane Stephens, Sofia Kenin, Grigor Dimitrov, Sam Querrey, Bob and Mike Bryan, Christina McHale, Eugenie Bouchard, Rajeev Ram, Tennys Sandgren and more. There's talk of a new draft to find a place for all of the extra players expressing interest.
Find out how McHale is preparing for her season with the San Diego Aviators:
"I feel like the players are even more exited to play WTT; certainly those guys and gals that signed up for a full season they were already excited," Silva said. "I think all of us, we're a little itchy to get out and get some fresh air and get back to work."
Not only will players be vying for the trophy and getting valuable matches in, they will also be competing for $5 million in prize money (an increase from $1.5 million in 2019).
"We've been under stay at home orders for 30, 45 or 60 days, all in the same situation, all a little scared, not really knowing what would happen," Silva said. "It feels great that we were able to work through this and be cautious about it, and smart and get to a decision, and a positive decision."
Monday is expected to be a big day for announcements from the tours and the US Open about how the rest of 2020 tournament season might look like.
"WTT gets these players ready," Silva said. "I think many players have done well at the US Open because they've played a full season WTT. They played singles, doubles and mixed doubles and they were ready for big ATP and WTA tournaments later."