The wide-open US city of Atlanta will test the potency of the COVID-19 virus by staging a full-on exhibition during the July 4 holiday weekend.
The world No. 21 John Isner will join a group of compatriots as tennis has a go in the worldwide hotbed of the pandemic – the American South.
One mis-step could lead to a duplication of the Adria Tour sideshow in the Balkans which now has Novak Djokovic, his wife and at least three other ATP players living in 14-day quarantine.
Joining Isner on the informal public health experiment will be Top 100 compatriots Taylor Fritz (No. 24), Reilly Opelka (No. 39), Sam Querrey (No. 45), Tennys Sangren (No. 55), Tommy Paul (No. 57), Steve Johnson (No. 63) and Frances Tiafoe (No. 81).
Organisers insist they’ve got it all under control, with only 450 fans allowed into the stadium.Masks will not be required but will be handed out along with hand sanitiser..
Spectators will theoretically be sat in every third seat for a nominal two-metre separation at the first event with fans in the US since COVID became a problem in March.
“This is something we take very seriously, and we’re honored to be able to put it on,” the TD said
“Obviously with all the political unrest, there’s a lot of stress out there and we’re a firm believer that sports bring our cultures and communities together,” he added in reference to recent city riots and racial tensions.
“If this is a way that we can help the community, then that’s something we’re proud of as well.”
The event will be played July 3-5 and will serve as a minimal replacement for the Atlanta ATP event wiped out by the current Tour tennis pause.
Main photo:- John Isner by Anne Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd