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Discussion Starter #1
I suggest tournaments as the were are not only out of the question right now, but possibly will be for another 12 months.

We are a long way from when all players from around the world, and their support teams, can choose to travel to a new country every few weeks. This means tournaments as they were, being open to any player without regard to where they are from, are not about to resume as they were.

It is possible to envisage tournaments open to select players:
  • from selected locations
  • or who have been in effective quarantine
  • or have been in virus free environments
  • etc
But tournaments genuinely open to all players is going to be really difficult.

When a tournament effectively excludes some players, it is no longer exactly comparable to previous tournaments which were open to all players.
Any Grand Slam event held while parts of the world are still in lock down may not be considered the equal or a regular grand slam.

For the regular ATP tour, and Grand Slams as we know them, will be among the last things in the world able to resume as they were.

This means if there is an appetite for tennis in the interim, the best hope is for tournaments like the Davis Cup or for exhibitions where it is accepted that
not all players can attend.

Perhaps more thought should be allocated on not holding a Hamburg or Kitzbuhl or even the full US open, but some form of exhibition tournaments where the fact that only
a selection of players can enter is already accepted.

Perhaps innovative solutions can also be found to allow an effective 'live audience' feel?

There must be solutions that allow for tennis to build up towards a time when truly open tournaments scattered around the world are again feasible?
 

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Even under the current circumstances, holding slams would be fairly easy. Hold them without a live audience, have the players come into the country at least two weeks before and isolate in hotels.

It would also be beneficial to reorganise the calendar so that all major events in a country take place consecutively, e.g. move up Miami and IW to take place before the US Open along with all the other US events. Players go to the United States two or three weeks before the first tournament. French Open, Monte Carlo, Paris Masters all take place consecutively. If Europe decides to treat the Schengen Area as a single country for the purposes of quarantine that would be very helpful in saving the clay season.

The UK is probably the most difficult, since there aren't many other tennis events in the UK other than Wimbledon and the WTF, but I think people would do the two weeks for Wimbledon and the WTF is probably not going to happen this year and is off to Turin next year.

Hopefully there'll be a vaccine before next season so none of this is necessary.
 

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I am all for, where possible, moving out of the lockdown and into some form of normality. TBH I'm getting bored of hearing British people complaining about things. First of all it was too boring being inside. Now it's too dangerous to leave your house!

But we surely have to be realistic about international sporting events. Brazil just recorded its worst death toll today, and this is far from over. That's just one country. It's going to be extraordinarily difficult to arrange either the US Open or French Open, unless they're just going to bar certain countries, which surely couldn't be justified. Even then, international travel is going to be problematic for quite some time.

It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Trump stated that they should just hold the US Open anyway. But it's going to be very difficult to justify that, and to expect major players to fly in regardless, if their relative safety cannot be guaranteed. Personally, I can't see any international tournaments being held this year.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Even under the current circumstances, holding slams would be fairly easy. Hold them without a live audience, have the players come into the country at least two weeks before and isolate in hotels.
.......
Consider just slams for a moment. Main draw 128...men and women makes 256. Then normally is the qualifiers which is also a field of 128 times 2.

Assume there are no qualifiers.....already giving the tournament an * as not longer the normal format, but simplifying logistics.

Even allowing generously for some players being at their 'home' grand slam, that is still over 200 players and the support team for each player who have to travel.
Last year, even the officials were drawn from 38 different countries!

Realistically, once you include support teams, you have to bring at least 1,000 people into the country hosting the grand slam event. If you look at international flights right now, even that
is going to a challenge. Then, what happens if even one of these people tests positive? Can they all get flights, in both directions, plus given quarantine on return they have 4 weeks to endure. Plus, are the USA, France or England countries everyone feels safe to travel to right now?

Realistically no every one is going to attend. That gives the tournament in 2020 another * as not being the same as a win in a regular year. Plus your suggestion of no crowds, together with the lack of warm up play.

The ATP tour is already delayed everything until at least August, leaving the US Open as the first possible grand slam after the ATP has started anything.

In the end you can hold a tournament, but it is not going to be comparable with normal years. Why call it, for example, the US Open, when on any historical record there would be an asterisk as why it was just not the same.

If we can't even get some meaningful tennis running with events specially adapted to be practical under current circumstances, then what hope for running full 'as it was before' tournaments?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
It seems some initiatives are in place:

Her is one I found: Ultimate Tennis Showdown

Current world No. 58 Lucas Pouille and dredlocked entertainer Brown will compete against Benoit Paire, Alexei Popyrin, Fabio Fognini and David Goffin during a series of weekend matches starting on June 13th.
tennishead

From articles, seems this is getting some momentum but i had not heard of it until i did some searching.

Had anyone else heard of it?
 

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Consider just slams for a moment. Main draw 128...men and women makes 256. Then normally is the qualifiers which is also a field of 128 times 2.

Assume there are no qualifiers.....already giving the tournament an * as not longer the normal format, but simplifying logistics.

Even allowing generously for some players being at their 'home' grand slam, that is still over 200 players and the support team for each player who have to travel.
Last year, even the officials were drawn from 38 different countries!

Realistically, once you include support teams, you have to bring at least 1,000 people into the country hosting the grand slam event. If you look at international flights right now, even that
is going to a challenge. Then, what happens if even one of these people tests positive? Can they all get flights, in both directions, plus given quarantine on return they have 4 weeks to endure. Plus, are the USA, France or England countries everyone feels safe to travel to right now?

Realistically no every one is going to attend. That gives the tournament in 2020 another * as not being the same as a win in a regular year. Plus your suggestion of no crowds, together with the lack of warm up play.

The ATP tour is already delayed everything until at least August, leaving the US Open as the first possible grand slam after the ATP has started anything.

In the end you can hold a tournament, but it is not going to be comparable with normal years. Why call it, for example, the US Open, when on any historical record there would be an asterisk as why it was just not the same.

If we can't even get some meaningful tennis running with events specially adapted to be practical under current circumstances, then what hope for running full 'as it was before' tournaments?
If one of them tests positive for Coronavirus they go into isolation. If they have to pull out of the tournament they have to pull out.

If players don't want to turn up that's their business. There are always players missing from Grand Slams, there's probably never been a tennis tournament where all of the top 128 players have attended.

There not being crowds is irrelevant. The contest is between the players on the court. No asterisk required.
 

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I think they should restart tournaments without fans, reducing the prize money to account for lost ticket sales. There’s gotta be some money available in corporate sponsorships and TV rights. No one watching on TV cates if there are fans there or not. Heck for the tournaments in China the bleachers are mostly empty. They are even at the French Open for the morning matches.

Its actually a perfect time for tennis to do that as they’d be the first major sport to restart, generating additional TV interest and revenue. It won’t be long before other sports do the same thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think they should restart tournaments without fans, reducing the prize money to account for lost ticket sales. There’s gotta be some money available in corporate sponsorships and TV rights. No one watching on TV cates if there are fans there or not. Heck for the tournaments in China the bleachers are mostly empty. They are even at the French Open for the morning matches.

Its actually a perfect time for tennis to do that as they’d be the first major sport to restart, generating additional TV interest and revenue. It won’t be long before other sports do the same thing.
It seems there should be some matches you can watch

Not sure if you can also see the UTS (ultimate tennis showdown) matches in the US, but with Serena Williams one of the major backers I would think it should be possible.
 

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Today I read a Thomas Bach interview where he says he is worrying about Tokyo Olympics because of the thin chances a vaccine can be found tested produced and displayed all over the world before October 2021.

Covid19 is slowering in Europe but there are still big risks Southern Earth entering in wet cold season can be an endangered place from now to october, then Northern Earth again as we did not reach herd immunity.
 

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Some on here need to cool their jets & hold their horses. As for majors, due to unprecedented circumstances, we don’t need a 128 mens/womens draw. This could b downsized to even 64 if needed & still wouldn’t affect the authenticity (when was last time anyone, esp. men’s, outside top 50 made a GS final or even SF?). It might prevent some early round upsets but then again u also have more competitive early round matches. This draw format would allow for fewer support staff including officials & mean a shorter overall tourn. timeframe. Of course, there would b other logistical issues that would add up, but the earlier GS & ATP officials plan for them, the better chance of reducing risks associated w/ implementing a major after a long layoff. This leaves us w/ the question of which majors could realistically b conducted for the remaining tennis season. We know that WB has decided to cancel & redeem their insurance policy (though I have even suggested Halle as a decent Grass backup replacement). FO has announced they would postpone for another date which leaves us w/ USO. Personally, I feel it has the best chance not only since it’s the last major of the year but w/ adjustments as needed still very viable. For instance, if not able to b held in original venue, NY or even IW/CA due to increasing risks even some months away, Miami/Orlando or Cincinnati offer excellent HC facilities that could compensate very adequately.
 

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What is this talk of an asterisk? This is the new normal. The COVID-19 has changed our world, and it is up to people to adapt to this new normal.

Also, as others have said: no tennis tournament or season has ever been perfect. There are always withdrawals, injuries, etc. It would be like saying, "Let's asterisk 2017 because most of the best players of 2014-2016 were injured." Or, "let's asterisk 2017-2018 Roland Garros because Federer did not participate." It does not work like that.
 

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It seems some initiatives are in place:

Her is one I found: Ultimate Tennis Showdown

tennishead

From articles, seems this is getting some momentum but i had not heard of it until i did some searching.

Had anyone else heard of it?
UTS shall be a very different way of playing tennis with some quite special rules. More on that soon, but I am keen to see this one to be fair.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
What is this talk of an asterisk? This is the new normal. The COVID-19 has changed our world, and it is up to people to adapt to this new normal.

Also, as others have said: no tennis tournament or season has ever been perfect. There are always withdrawals, injuries, etc. It would be like saying, "Let's asterisk 2017 because most of the best players of 2014-2016 were injured." Or, "let's asterisk 2017-2018 Roland Garros because Federer did not participate." It does not work like that.
I agree that there may be a 'new normal', and there can be different circumstances that should not detract from the results.

I suggest current circumstances are not yet really the 'new normal'. All the regular tournaments are cancelled..is that the new normal? I think the 'new normal' is something we are still working towards, and need to define.

Your examples I do not consider different circumstances. There are withdrawals and injuries, but the rules and circumstances for these have been the same from year to year. If you are injured, and can't play nothing has changed. However when they moved to ban professional tennis players, then grand slams the next year were considered of different significance because the rules had changed. To me that was different circumstances. Suficiently different to consider the results no longer comparable? Arguable.

However if we were to hold the US Open under current rules where non-US citizens travelling from Europe, South America or China are banned from entering the USA, resulting in the only players in the top 20 eligible to compete being Shapovalov (ranked 16) and Auger-Aliassime(ranked 20), would the result would be considered as comparable with previous years?

I think clearly there is a point where results are no longer comparable.

Your examples are when there is no change of external circumstances. Same rules and conditions being applied year to year. Perhaps a more relevant example would be a key player unable to compete because of a war between his country and another. Even then, if it applied to one player I would still agree that is not a reason to 'asterisk' the tournament that year. But if it was a world war and most players could not compete...I would give it an 'asterisk'. There is a grey area in between. But i think clearly if only around 20% of players in the top 100 could compete it would be worthy of
an asterisk. Where is the border line? What it we gave the top 10 special exemptions? The line becomes blurred.

Do you have a favourite group of players? How do you feel if they are all ruled in eligible because of the country of residence?

I think on a global level, we do not have a new normal yet.

I also think there is a level where the result should be considered not on a par with previous years, just as if things can be 'close enough' , it becomes about getting over it. The question is how do we get to that close 'enough point'. Until then I suggest holding exhibitions, which are never really comparable anyway, can be a way to get started. Since starting the thread, I have learnt that is exactly what IS happening. I had just not heard of the exhibitions. Maybe we should start discussing them?
 

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The new normal = no or a limited amount of fans.

Also, I am guessing that most, if not all, of the seeds/top 32 players (who are healthy) will be there and competing when the time comes. If there are some lower ranked players who can't/won't compete, they will be replaced with lower ranked players who can compete. I do not think it will be a doom-and-gloom scenario where the Roland Garros and US Open fields will not resemble an actual slam. I think the best, most relevant players will be there. Let's wait and see.

And despite the difference of circumstances, it is a fact that no season or tournament is ever perfect. For example, when a player wins a 500 tournament without any top-10 players competing, while another player wins a 500 tournament with all of the top-10 competing, the former is never asterisked, even though it was a depleted field and they had it easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Yes no tournament is perfect. Yes there are 500s without any top 10 players. However, that level of 'imperfection' tends to go with the tournament in question. A 500 tournament that attracts no top 10 players is not considered comparable to a Grand Slam. But if we take a grand slam, have almost no top ten players and reduce the prize money are there are no crowds it becomes that 500 tournament.

Is the new normal really 'no or a limited number of fans'? With grand slams, Wimbledon and Roland Garros are cancelled next year. So the next two potential events are the US Open 2020 and the Australian Open 2021.

Comparing the USA and Australia (locations of next GS events) only reveals how far things are from a 'normal'.

USA latest stats: 19,790 new cases and 505 people died in the last day.
Australia latest stats: 3 new cases in the last day and approximately 100 deaths in total for all days since the outbreak began.

This highlights that as you move around the world, as happens with tennis, the circumstances can be VERY different. There is not necessarily a normal.

In Australia, football matches have resumed and there are plans for crowds to start to return by July. There could be a 'second wave' in Australia, but if there is no second wave, you would expect a normal crowd size be able to attend the next Australian Open. What will still be a challenge will be spectators from outside Australia, or New Zealand, Taiwan or other countries that have almost eliminated Covid-19.

For grand slams, the new normal you mention, is most likely to be relevant to only one event: the US Open.

Do we establish a 'new normal' for one single event? I feel it depends on 'how normal' it could be.

I agree with you that if all top 32 could attend the US open it is worth holding an event of some type even with no crowds. My concern is that even getting half the top 32 to event in New York might be a huge challenge. Currently, non-US citizens arriving from Europe and South America are banned. A way around this may depend on the next month of Covid-19 experience in the US.
On this, the only way we would learn the real answer to who could/would attend by the event being held, and much will depend on the next month of future cases of Covid-19 in the US.

However, either way, if the US Open is held this year, it would not be a 'new normal' as it would be so different to the following grand slam in Australia, and by the French and Wimbledon next year there could be a vaccine.

Tournaments are starting...just not as a new normal but as special 'tours' or events until things do normalise. I see something about a 'tour' organised by Djokovic in the Balkans, there is the UTS and there are tournaments in the USA. Not tennis as it was but matches to watch and discuss.
 

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[...]

I agree with you that if all top 32 could attend the US open it is worth holding an event of some type even with no crowds. My concern is that even getting half the top 32 to event in New York might be a huge challenge. Currently, non-US citizens arriving from Europe and South America are banned. A way around this may depend on the next month of Covid-19 experience in the US.

[...]
This may have already been adressed. Not sure what 'some foreign athletes' means here though, but some sort of exemption already put in place. U.S. to exempt foreign athletes from coronavirus-related entry bans


edit. Found it: Acting Secretary Wolf Signs Exemption Allowing Entry of Certain Foreign Professional Athletes into the US

The Department will work with the professional sporting groups to identify the specific athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents covered by this exemption, including Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women's Tennis Association.
 

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Roland Garros has not been canceled. Also, Roland Garros and the US Open are saying they are willing to play without fans. Also, to quote Christopher Clarey's tweet: "Chad Wolf, acting secretary for USA homeland security, issues exemption for some professional athletes and their staff and dependents to enter the country. This includes ATP & WTA players. Helps re-open the door to staging tournaments later this year, including perhaps US Open".

I have also read a tweet from someone who plays tennis seriously and knows a few of the lower ranked players, and they were told to get ready for qualies at the US Open, and that they will play with or without crowds.
 

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If the two slams happen (things are looking good), the best, most relevant players will in all likelihood be there.
 

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Grand slams need 128 players. The lower ranked players depends of a R1 or R2 to get a life playing tennis.

I think we focus too much on top players and big events. Its time to start again from exhos. Wait if will not happen new outbreaks. And when come the slam time, it will have wta, doubles, wheelchair, mixed, juniors...

And when its safe, come back with full calendar (Challengers and futures included, maybe even juniors)

We cant have only slams and masters with always the same entry list, with no one new coming from top 90, 100, 110. And no one falling to 110, 130, 150. Its totally unfair.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
If the two slams happen (things are looking good), the best, most relevant players will in all likelihood be there.
Thanks for the info on the French Open, I had assumed based on the original date that it was cancelled.
On current dates, seems difficult for both to happen but it appears there are discussions to try and get both events to happen. Dates still not certain.
Given the Laver Cup is an easier to organise tournament scheduled to conflict with Roland Garros another reschedule of the French Open could help there as well.
 
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