GREENBRIER COUNTY—Professional tennis players may be making their way to Greenbrier County soon as a result of the top international tennis tours ceasing to operate since early March with no tour events expected to resume until August at the earliest.
World TeamTennis (WTT), a mixed-gender professional tennis league played with a team format in the United States, is in discussions with The Greenbrier to host their entire three-week summer season at the resort. The most likely dates the league would be played are July 12th to August 1st.
“The Greenbrier and World TeamTennis have been in discussions about the WTT visiting America’s Resort this summer,” said Greenbrier Director of Public Relations and Content Cam Huffman. “We are hopeful an announcement will come soon about a partnership between the two groups.”
WTT, which was founded in 1974, was originally played on a no-line court with each match consisting of five sets. Each set features a different configuration (men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles). Prior to each match, coaches decide the order in which the sets will be played. Each player on a team usually plays in at least one of the five sets. Scoring is noadvantage, therefore there is no requirement to win a game by two scores. At deuce (40-40), whoever scores the next point wins the game. The first team to reach five games wins each set. A nine-point tiebreaker is played if a set reaches 4-4. One point is awarded for each game won. And if necessary, extended play and a super tiebreaker are played to determine the winner of the match.
The league’s season normally takes place in the summer months. Players from the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) take a break from their normal tour schedules to participate in World TeamTennis.
2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens were the top Americans expected to compete in the league. But with the ATP and WTA suspended, several of the tour’s top players could join the league which could serve as a warmup for tournaments to be held later in the summer, including the U.S. Open.
Nine coed teams from across the nation are scheduled to compete in the league: Chicago Smash, New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, Orlando Storm, Philadelphia Freedoms, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers, Vegas Rollers, and the Washington Kastles.
In October of 2019, the league announced it would be awarding a record $5 million in prize money (including an additional $1 million for the postseason), during its 45th season and would be expanding again, adding two new franchises in 2020.
In February of 2020, the league announced its expansion yet again, this time expanding to nine teams for 2020, adding the Smash.
Center Court at Creekside, the Greenbrier’s tennis venue with Deco-Tur courts, seats 2,500 fans and is located near the first tee of The Old White TPC golf course. The stadium has hosted exhibitions in the past featuring Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams.