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World Team Tennis Event Hosted At The Greenbrier In 2020, It’s Not Just About Winning

2020 World Team Tennis event from the Greenbrier resort. Opening match Orlando Storm at Springfield Lasers.

By Ricky Dimon

Former Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi popularized the saying, “Winning it’s everything. It’s the only thing.”

In most cases, professional athletes play as if that’s true.

But that is not necessarily the case at the 2020 World Team Tennis event. Participants are simply happy to be out and about, spending their time at the Greenbrier resort in the Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia. Some ATP and WTA players have taken the court in various exhibitions around the world since the coronavirus pandemic halted tennis in early March, but for others this is their first chance to engage in serious competition.

One of the players said : 
 “Do you know what it’s been like the last four months? You’re just sitting in your house the whole time…. So I get to do it in a beautiful setting now. It’s fantastic. I’m super excited to be here. There’s lots of stuff to do as far as golf, lots of other activities where you can be safe and distant. I’m just super excited to be here.”

The Greenbrier, in Sulphur Springs, West Virginia offers golf, pickleball, bowling, fishing, horseback  riding, croquet, skeet shooting ,  whitewater rafting, paintball, an arcade, and other outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and a climbing tower.

Kardon coaching the Philadelphia Freedoms.

“We have to set an atmosphere of having more fun and not have so much pressure on the expectation of winning,” noted Philadelphia Freedoms head coach Craig Kardon. “[The players] need to actually get away from me, be kids, and do their own thing. For me, I brought my clubs and I’m going to work on my golf game.”

“I’m going to try and definitely hike and swim and do other stuff as safely as possible,” said Freedoms player Caroline Dolehide. “We’ll see what happens from there. I know the schedule is super busy.”

Caroline Dolehide with Freedoms teammate Sofia Kenin.

None of this is to say that participants are not interested in lifting the trophy at the end of this three-week extravaganza. Nobody wants to spend the middle of their summer in West Virginia only to get embarrassed on the tennis court. Winning still counts for something; it’s just not the only thing.

“Mixing a lot of different personalities into one venue and pulling together to bid for a title and playing night after night…that’s going to be interesting to see how the teams pull this off,” Kardon added.

Kardon’s Philadelphia squad is leading the tournament with a 4-1 record so far.

Kardon’s Philadelphia squad has been pulling it off better than anyone else so far, having compiled a 4-1 record through five matches. That puts the Freedoms atop the WTT standings, leading the Chicago Smash (3-1), New York Empire (3-2), and Orlando Storm (3-3). Those four teams are currently in playoff position, with Orlando holding a tiebreaker over the Vegas Rollers (3-3).

NY Empire teammates Neal Skupski and Kim Clijsters celebrate.

The World Team Tennis event, which–unlike in previous years–is being held at a single location because of the pandemic, began on July 12 and ends on Aug. 2. All 66 matches are being produced by the WTT broadcast teams, streamed on various platforms such as CBS Sports Network, ESPN2, and ESPN+. CBS has the final.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.