Tennis to return in Germany this week with tournament that will occur without fans due to coronavirus pandemic
The first tennis tournament to be held since the coronavirus pandemic will be held in Germany
On Friday, tennis will be returning for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic hit, with a tournament taking place in Germany. The return has been made possible by the lightened lockdown restrictions in the country, though those key in putting on the event are still being cautious and continuing best health practices.
The tournament, put on by the Tennis Point Exhibition Series, will be an eight-player round-robin event, with matches as best-of-three sets. Sets will be shortened to the first player to four games, with tiebreaks at three-all. When games reach deuce it will be next point wins.
After the round-robin, a playoff between the top four will occur, ending with prize money given out according to place. Players will also earn appearance fees for participating.
The tournament will take place with no fans, as packing in large groups of people is not an option for safety reasons, even despite relaxed social distancing restrictions.
During play, only three people will be on the court at a time, the two athletes and the referee, to help prevent against any spread. The players will arrive and exist through separate doors, so the crossing of the net will not occur and
Even the food is packaged in a specific way and players will eat alone to avoid close contact with anyone.
Rodney Rapson, managing director of Europe and UK for PlaySight, the video system that will provide the live footage of the event, spoke to CNN Sport about what it has taken to get here.
He said they have been preparing all along, so the moment they were allowed to resume, a plan would already be in place:
"We're the first ones to come back for sport in general in Europe, but that's probably because the majority of people were just waiting for the government to relax the rules before they made any plans, whereas we were planning the whole time and were just waiting for the announcement of the rules to be relaxed -- and then we had an event ready to go."
When planning everything, Rapson said they "went a little bit over-cautious" because it's better to be as safe as possible in an instance like this.
Following health and government guidelines is not easy, nor is it cheap. "It's been a costly undertaking to get the venue ready under the coronavirus guidelines," Rapson said. "The government has set the guidelines and obviously tennis is already a sport that can be played under social distancing rules."
Right now the focus is to give the lower-ranked players an income. "The players are the biggest asset in this sport, right, but they usually don't get the biggest share. Let's put Roger [Federer] and the big guys aside, I'm talking about the guys from 50 in the world to 300 or 400," Rapson said.
This will not be the only tennis tournament taking place in the near future, Rapson says he has two more planned in Germany and one lined up in Atlanta, Georgia.
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