Professional tennis will return in Germany today, but with no fans, line judges, ball kids or handshakes.
The Tennis-Point exhibition features eight players outside the world’s top 100 and will take place at the Base Tennis Academy in the town of Hoehr-Grenzhausen, near Koblenz.
Germany’s Dustin Brown – who beat Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2015 and British No.9 Jan Choinski are in a field of little known players.
Yannick Hanfmann is the highest ranked player at 143.
It is the first competition between ATP players since tennis was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12.
Only the two players and chair umpire will be allowed on the clay courts at any one time.
Digital broadcaster Tennis Channel will broadcast the three-legs of the tournament, today and then on May 7 and 14.
“We have been pretty much redesigning the set-up of the tennis club,” director of the Base Tennis Academy Ruben Herrera, said.
“But once the players are on the court, it’s really pretty safe.”
Herrera also said players will not have to touch any door handles on the way to the court and players and the umpire will sit a little further apart than normal.
The benches and the umpire’s chair will be disinfected after every match. Masks and gloves are provided for everyone on site, but players will not use either during matches.
“You really have to be very cautious, and very detail orientated on how you provide this kind of exhibition for players,” Herrera said.
“We actually thought about playing with two sets of balls, but after reading the guidelines and seeing that professional players can play already [in Germany], and the [small] likelihood of people getting sick by touching the balls, we are changing them as normal.”
The temperature of those on site will be monitored, but after seeking advice, it was decided not to carry out testing for Covid-19.
All of the players will receive appearance money, and then compete for a prize fund of €3,000 in a series of round robin matches spread over four days.