SI Insider: Unsanctioned Tennis Matches Are Beginning to Pop Up All Over the World

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Robin Lundberg: We know regular sports have been put on pause. But what about unsanctioned events? That's something that's popped up in tennis. For more, I'm joined by our senior writer, Jon Wertheim. Jon, what's going on exactly?

Jon Wertheim: This is tennis is equivalent of the restaurant that wishes it were open but hey, at least they'll serve take out. Tennis players are getting restless and they are starting to improvise. And we're seeing a number of events that are unsanctioned. But you have a couple of TV cameras there and you suddenly got live professional tennis. So Tennis Channel and the UTR staged an event last weekend in Florida a four-person event, overall pretty successful. We're hearing about a women's event in the United States. It's now being worked out. There will be events at academies in Europe. I just got an email about an event featuring Czech players. There's going to be an event for British players the week Wimbledon was supposed to happen. 

So these are unsanctioned events. There is not the conventional ranking points or prize money that the tours would offer, but these are professional events. I think what we're seeing is that tennis in some ways is really ill-suited for coronavirus. You're talking about hundreds of players from dozens of countries. It's going to be very hard for this sport to get back to normal anytime soon. On the other hand, you're talking about a sport where people stand. You know, it could be 10-15 yards apart. There's a net, you don't have to worry about social-distancing. You don't necessarily need ball kids or umpires. You can have professional tennis matches. And that's what we're seeing. So after sort of a wait and see period, it looks like tennis players are really taking this into their own hands and there are professional opportunities that are popping up now.