Early last month, the White House invited commissioners from all around the world of sports to discuss ways to deal with the coronavirus pandemic as it pertains to their leagues and live sports. Tennis was left out of that discussion initially but recently tennis officials were invited to share their thoughts on a resumption of the sport. SI senior writer Jon Wertheim shares his thoughts on the conversations officials from the world of tennis had with the White House.
Robin Lundberg: There's certainly a lot of talk involving the White House. But usually tennis isn't the first thing you think of. For more on that, I'm joined by our senior writer, Jon Wertheim. Jon, what has tennis been asking the White House about?
Jon Wertheim: Yeah, great question. Context - in early April, commissioners for a number of sports leagues, the NFL, the NBA, baseball, even UFC talked to President Trump or on a White House conference call about what was going to happen to sports. Tennis was not on that call. And administrators said, "Hey, wait, we need an audience, too." It turns out Donald Trump is actually a tennis fan. So is Lawrence Kudlow, who was very much part of this call last week. And basically a group from tennis that included representatives from the tours, television broadcast executives, and also some tournament directors essentially spoke with the White House and with Andrew Giuliani, who's the liaison between the White House and its sports programs, and basically said, "Look, here's what's gonna happen for tennis to return. Here's what we need." Again, this is all seeking support from the federal government. There is a range of opinion here. I mean, there are some tennis tournament directors who say, "Look, until there is a vaccine, I can't have the risk of having an event." There are other tournament directors that are very eager to stage their events, even if that means no fans. But again, this was a consultation with the White House. And it does seem as though the White House is in favor of this going forward under the right circumstances.