Tennis Channel will televise pro matches live starting May 8th at noon Eastern time.
Get ready for a shot of live tennis to beat the quarantine blues—and a lesson on playing safely in a coronavirus climate.
Pro tennis returns live next weekend.
US Open semifinalist Matteo Berrettini headlines the UTR Pro Match Series presented by Tennis Channel.
The mini tournament featuring top ATP and WTA players will be televised live by Tennis Channel and feature social distancing rules.
It's billed as the first top tier pro tennis event since the coronavirus crisis forced tennis to go dark on March 8th.
There will be no spectators, no handshaking, no ballkids and no line judges.
One chair umpire will oversee the match, and the court and facility will be professionally disinfected before and after play. Each player will be provided with their own set of marked balls for use during the match. Players will provide their own drinks and towels, and each player will have their own separate area off the court.
The first event of the series will be held May 8-10th with a four-player men’s round-robin event beginning at noon Eastern time with three hours of live coverage on Tennis Channel.
The big-hitting Berrettini, 39th-ranked Reilly Opelka, Tennys Sandgren and Tommy Paul form the men's field.
Alison Riske (UTR 13.19), Amanda Anisimova (UTR 13.04), Danielle Collins (UTR 13.07) and Ajla Tomljanović (UTR 12.85) will play the women's event.
All matches will be held at a private court in the West Palm Beach, FL, area with no spectators or public access.
“We are excited to bring back the game to tennis fans and give players the opportunity to compete in a safe, competitive environment,” said Mark Leschly, Universal Tennis Chairman & CEO. “The world has changed and we must adapt and innovate.
"Local, individual and small group play will be the new normal for the foreseeable future. The UTR Pro Match Series showcases how tennis can be played locally, safely and have results count toward the UTR global rating.”
These are the first two events in what will be a continuing US and international series. UTR is partnering with others around the world to deliver UTR Pro Match Series events for players according to local guidelines as restrictions are lifted.
UTR Pro Match Series events are prize money competitions, not exhibitions, and have been reviewed by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) to ensure strict compliance.
Results from all Pro Match Series events will be included in a player’s Universal Tennis Rating (UTR), the most accurate international tennis rating system that provides real-time head-to-head rating comparisons based on performance.
“We’re excited to work with our longtime partners UTR to bring professional tennis and high-quality live sports coverage back to millions of tennis fans in the United States and Europe during this uniquely challenging moment,” said Ken Solomon, president, Tennis Channel.
Brett Haber will call play by play for Tennis Channel from the network’s Los Angeles studio during the event. He will be alongside former NCAA champion and professional tour player Prakash Amritraj.
During coverage Friday, May, 8th, former world No 1. And US Open champion Andy Roddick will also offer commentary via Skype. The four players competing in the tournament will have headsets and be able to interact with Tennis Channel’s studio during changeovers.
Photo credit: @ATPFinals