No fans, no ballkids – German tennis plans during coronavirus

Davis Cup players Jan-Lennard Struff and Philipp Kohlschreiber will have to pick up balls themselves and lines-people are also not planned in a German tennis series designed to help players get through the coronavirus pandemic.

There will also be no fans or post-match handshakes in the series by the German Tennis Federation (DTB) for 32 men and 24 women which is to start on June 8, if possible, and last seven weeks.

“It is a good idea. It is about getting through the times for the lads before it all starts again,” Davis Cup captain Michael Kohlmann told dpa on Monday.

“After an extended break players always take a while to find their rhythm and to show the performance they are capable of. So it is good that the lads have the opportunity this way to get at least some match practice.”

In order to go adhere to government restrictions and social distancing rules the event will be as basic as possible, with only the two players and the chair umpire present.

Play is to take place in eight groups at four yet to be determined outdoor locations for the men and three for the women, with two further stages to follow.

Group winners are to earn 4,000 euros and the prize money then rises at the event which is not so much designed for top stars like three-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber but rather the likes of world number 161 Andrea Lottner.

Struff and Kohlschreiber have however signalled interest on the men’s side as the ATP and WTA tours have been suspended since March and at least until mid-July.

Fund-raising efforts are also planned along with possible television broadcasts, with DTB vice-president Dirk Hordorff saying: “We face a dried out market. There should be some interest.”

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