Wednesday, March 18, 2020

WTA & ATP cancel clay season due to Corona Virus no tennis until at least June

Please see below for a joint statement regarding professional tennis and COVID-19 from the WTA Tour and the ATP World Tour.

"After careful consideration, and due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, all ATP and WTA tournaments in the Spring clay court swing will not be held as scheduled. This includes the combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, along with the WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon.

"The professional tennis season is now suspended through June 7, 2020, including the ATP Challenger Tour and ITF World Tennis Tour. At this time, tournaments taking place from June 8, 2020 onwards are still planning to go ahead as per the published schedule.

"In parallel, the FedEx ATP Rankings and WTA Rankings will be frozen throughout this period and until further notice.

"The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community, in order for the sport to move forward collectively in the best interest of players, tournaments and fans.

"We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximizing the tennis calendar based on various return dates for the Tours, which remains an unknown at this time. We are committed to working through these matters with our player and tournament members, and the other governing bodies, in the weeks and months ahead.

"Now is not a time to act unilaterally, but in unison. All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game, a view that is shared by ATP, WTA, ITF, AELTC, Tennis Australia, and USTA."

May need to keep the tennis subscriptions after all so I can watch some old matches. Talk about some major tennis withdrawal. 2020 is gonna be a strange season that's for sure. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Roland Garros postponed until September due to Corona Virus

The current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with the dates originally planned.

The whole world is affected by the public health crisis connected with COVID-19. In order to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in organising the tournament, the French Tennis Federation has made the decision to hold the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros from 20th September to 4th October 2020.

Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on 18th May, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned. 
In order to act responsibly and protect the health of its employees, service providers and suppliers during the organisation period, the FFT has chosen the only option that will allow them to maintain the 2020 edition of the tournament while joining the fight against COVID-19.

At this important period in its history, and since the progress of the stadium modernisation means the tournament can be held at this time, the FFT was keen to maintain the 2020 tournament. Therefore, this year’s Roland-Garros will be held from 20th September to 4th October. 
This decision was made in the interest of both the community of professional tennis players, whose 2020 season has already been compromised, and of the many fans of tennis and Roland-Garros.

“We have made a difficult yet brave decision in this UNPRECEDENTED situation, which has evolved greatly since last weekend. We are acting responsibly, and must work together in the fight to ensure everybody’s health and safety,” explained Bernard Giudicelli, President of the FFT.
Any tickets already purchased will either be refunded or exchanged to take into account the new dates of Roland-Garros 2020. We will give details about how to do this in a subsequent press release.

The cancellation was expected, the reschudule however was not. Many players are already pointing out they were not consulted on the time frame of the event. 

As usual the governing bodies of both tours are not communicating with their players just doing what they think is best. 

I'm not sure how feasible this will be given it's what 1/2 weeks after the U.S. Open also the same week as the Laver Cup, not to mention many other overlapping events on the calendar. 

Safe to say you can still more than likely count Roger Federer out of it. At this point it might have been better if they postponed it till next year. 

2020 is an endless nightmare at the moment. Best to stay safe and healthy.

Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Last of Us heading to series at HBO

Craig Mazin, the creator of the acclaimed limited series Chernobyl, is reteaming with HBO to adapt The Last of Us, the massive Sony PlayStation video game franchise.

In a rare development in the world of video game adaptations, the writer and creative director of the game, Neil Druckmann, is also involved and will work with Mazin to pen and executive produce what is intended to be a series.

Carolyn Strauss will also executive produce along with Evan Wells, the president of Naughty Dog, the Santa Monica-based developer of the game. The project is a co-production with Sony Pictures Television in association with PlayStation Productions. It will be the first television series from PlayStation Productions.

Launched in 2013, Sony and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us garnered critical praise for its engrossing tale of the postapocalypse, centering on the relationship between Joel, a smuggler in this new world, and Ellie, a teenager who may be key to a cure for the deadly pandemic.

Joel, a hardened survivor, is hired to smuggle the14-year-old girl out of an oppressive quarantine zone. What starts as a small job soon becomes a brutal, heartbreaking journey, as they both must traverse across the U.S. and depend on each other for survival. The HBO series will cover the events of the original game, which was written by Druckmann, with the possibility of additional content based on the forthcoming game sequel, The Last of Us Part II, which will release on May 29, 2020.

Mazin, who is said to be an avid player of the game, stated, "Neil Druckmann is without question the finest storyteller working in the video game medium, and The Last of Us is his magnum opus. Getting a chance to adapt this breathtaking work of art has been a dream of mine for years, and I'm so honored to do it in partnership with Neil."

"From the first time I sat down to talk with Craig I was equally blown away by his approach to narrative and his love and deep understanding of The Last of Us," said Druckmann in a statement. "With Chernobyl, Craig and HBO created a tense, harrowing, emotional masterpiece. I couldn't think of better partners to bring the story of The Last of Us to life as a television show."

The Last of Us won numerous "game of the year" awards and went on to sell more than 17 million copies across both its original release on the PlayStation 3 and a remastered version on PlayStation 4.

"This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to partner with Craig, Neil, Carolyn and the teams at Sony, Naughty Dog and PlayStation to bring the virtual world of this acclaimed game to life," stated HBO programming president Casey Bloys.

"This is the first of many shows we intend to develop with our friends at PlayStation Productions," said Chris Parnell, co-president of Sony Pictures Television Studios. The Last of Us is a brilliant achievement in storytelling and character development, and we are lucky to have the opportunity to work with this team to adapt it."

Druckmann is a longtime vet of Naughty Dog, starting as a programming intern in 2004. In 2007, he was given the role of game designer on Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, the first installment in the action adventure series. In 2013, he created The Last of Us, based on a concept he developed as a student at Carnegie Mellon University.

Mazin's Chernobyl tackled a bleak and complex true-life event and became a must-see show for HBO. The show won an Emmy for outstanding limited series and landed one for Mazin for outstanding writing. Mazin also won a PGA award and a WGA award.

Forget the Uncharted movie, I am so excited for this!. Yes please. 

Monday, March 02, 2020

Kim Clijsters starts 2nd comeback tournament in Monterrey

MONTERREY, Mexico - Kim Clijsters' latest comeback tour is taking the Hall of Famer to places she's never been.

Two weeks ago, the 36-year-old returned to competitive tennis after a nearly seven-year absence at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in what was also her tournament debut, and the four-time Grand Slam champion is set to make another this week at the Abierto GNP Seguros.

"From the moment we got picked up at the airport, people have been really friendly. It's a very beautiful area. I'm excited to be here and to be playing here in Monterrey, and for the first time in South America," Clijsters told the media on Sunday ahead of the tournament.

"The other Belgians who've played here in the past told me about it at Fed Cup. [Victoria] Azarenka told me that it was a great tournament to come and play at. They were right. It's nice to be here."

A wildcard into the draw this week in Mexico, the still-unranked Belgian will face No.2 seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain in the first round as her third stint on the WTA continues to find its feet.

The match will be Clijsters' second against a Top 20 player in as many events after she lost a hard-fought 6-2, 7-6(6) match to GarbiƱe Muguruza in Dubai.

Two points away from winning the second set against the Australian Open runner-up, the 36-year-old feels that her first month back on the professional circuit has been full of positives.

"I feel like with the tennis that I've been playing, I'm improving. I still have a good level in me. I'm still at the stage where I feel like I need match rhythm," Clijsters said.

"I've played one official match so far, and some practice sets. I would like to have more matches, and that's the only way that I can practice certain things that you can only learn from matches.

"In practice, I'm moving better, I'm reacting better, I'm making better decisions. It has to happen in the match now. I think the more matches I get to play, the more that will improve a little bit, and we'll see how far I can go."

After ending her 2019 season after the US Open due to a knee injury, British No.1 Konta is also searching for matchplay of her own in Monterrey. The World No.15 is 0-3 in singles to start the season, but reached the doubles semifinals of the St. Petersburg Ladies' Trophy last month alongside Caroline Garcia.

Konta is also in the doubles draw this week partnering Elina Svitolina, who is the tournament's top seed in singles.

The match against Konta will be another first for former World No.1 Clijsters, as she and the Brit have never played.

"I haven't seen that many players yet. I've played one tournament, and I'm really trying to focus on my tennis and my fitness, so I'm not around as much," Clijsters continued.

"I've seen a lot of new faces, a lot of girls that I don't know, but that I'm starting to get to know a little bit. I've been practicing with different girls, and that's been fun.

"There are also girls that I know really well. Azarenka, I saw her yesterday, or Simona Halep [a practice partner in Dubai], who I've seen for many years."

Regardless of what comes to her this week in Mexico, Clijsters' comeback will continue to gain steam throughout the spring. Last week, she was awarded a wildcard for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, where she is a two-time champion.

"It's a process. It's a process of ups and downs, and I think that's something you have to understand. It comes with failure, but I think it's how you deal in the moments where it's the toughest," she said.

"That's when you improve the most, when you learn the most about yourself and when you're capable of improving. I think that was something I was always able to do well.

"When I lost in the past I was disappointed, but after a certain about of time, I was able to make that switch in my head and use it, and that's how I was able to become better. I think it's that kind of mindset. It's important to not get discouraged about the losses, and use it to motivate you even more."