WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS—WTA professional Danielle Collins and World TeamTennis, a mixed-gender professional tennis league with a team format currently being played at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, are at odds about her leaving the resort and has led to her being removed from the team competition for a breach of the league’s COVID-19 safety protocols.
According to Collins, she took a trip to Charlottesville, VA, approximately two hours from the resort and where she played college tennis for the University of Virginia before joining the WTA. She insists that she ventured out only to obtain supplements for her rheumatoid arthritis. She states she was unaware that players were not allowed to leave the resort.
“There was a waiver that I signed that was specific to the safety protocols and practices that were to take place during World TeamTennis, and it didn’t have any mention of not leaving the hotel,” she noted, also questioning why she wouldn’t be able to leave while “there’s hundreds of guests staying at the hotel who weren’t with the group.”
But WTT CEO Carlos Silva contests that players were told twice not to leave the premise.
“I don’t think Danielle was trying to do anything bad, but you’ve got to uphold what you are trying to do here so we can keep the other 150 people here safe,” he explained.
The team event is usually played in various cities but has settled in one location and implemented restrictions on player activity due to COVID-19.
Collins did not show up for the regular testing required of all players and that’s when it was discovered that she had left the resort.
“You can do things right 100 times, but if you do things wrong once, the 100 times gets flushed down the toilet in a second,” Silva said when outlining how players must uphold the standards if they want to see professional sports return.
Collins had previously been in the media for criticizing Novak Djokovic’s doubts about planned restrictions at the US Open, urging the #1 men’s player in the world to help out other players.
“For those of us (most tennis players) who don’t travel with an entourage, we actually need to start working again,” Collins expressed. “It would be nice to have the best player in the world supporting this opportunity and not spoiling it for the players and the fans!”
But she insists that her stance was not at odds with her behavior during World TeamTennis, saying that she had simply not realized that she was not allowed to leave the resort and had seen no written notice forbidding it.
“I don’t feel I intentionally broke a rule, so I don’t feel it affects what I said about the US Open,” she added.