The Philadelphia Freedoms of World TeamTennis were set to host matches this year at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center for the first time. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those home matches have been canceled. The Freedoms will play at Drexel in 2021, and this season’s home matches will be held elsewhere.
“World TeamTennis has made the decision that due to the coronavirus outbreak it would be inappropriate for players, staff and fans to travel between nine host cities and will now hold the three-week competition in one city [at a location to be determined],” World TeamTennis CEO Carlos Silva said in a statement. “The league will follow all CDC and state guidelines, as safety is our top priority, and will announce the host city in the weeks ahead.”
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WTT still wants to have a full season in July. The nine teams would have to play in one city. The plan would be for the teams to compete over a three-week stretch for the 2020 WTT King Trophy in a state that has lightened its stay-at-home restrictions.
The Freedoms finished 2019 with an 11-3 record and the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. They were upset by the New York Empire in the semifinals.
“We will miss bringing professional tennis to Philly this summer, but are supportive of government guidelines regarding the staging of live events at this time,” team president Barbara Perry said in a statement. “We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with Drexel University and we have already locked in dates for the Freedoms’ season in 2021."
The Freedoms made a flashy addition to their roster in February by signing 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, currently the highest-ranked men’s or women’s player in World TeamTennis. Ranked No. 4 in the world, she was scheduled to play matches on July 16 and 17 at the Daskalakis Center.