Thursday, June 18, 2020
Keys and Mattek-Sands shine at Credit One Bank Invitaational press conference
Moran explained the health measures that will be taken. About a hundred people will be on site—the players, their guests, the event staff, and the Tennis Channel broadcast staff (Weissman, Lindsay Davenport and Chanda Rubin). The Medical University of South Carolina’s back-to-work team has served in an advisory capacity for the tournament. Everyone who enters will be tested for the virus, there will be strict distancing, no handshakes or high fives, and tennis balls will be numbered.
Moran also announced that each player will have her own pod, with a couch, a lounge, and a workout area. He added: “You know, I’ve got to check on these two captains and make sure they’re not going out everywhere in Charleston every night.”
That was just a taste of the humor that wound through much of the press conference. Keys and Mattek-Sands reminisced about the one time they played doubles together, in Rome. They lost, but, Keys said, “The whole time, you would have thought that we were absolutely steamrolling it, and was 6-2, 4-0."
“I’m a little worried about doubles,” Keys added: “I might have to like go watch some of Bethanie’s matches.”
The captains talked about the special emotion that comes with playing tennis as a member of a team. “We’re used to going on stadium courts,” Mattek-Sands said. “We’re used to being set points down and coming back. We’re used to being up and having our opponents come back. But then, when you’re playing for someone else or you’re watching someone else and wanting her to win—it’s like a whole new set of nerves, but I think it’s great.”
The tournament format will include two sets and a third set tiebreak of ten points in both singles and doubles. The matches played on Tuesday and Wednesday are worth one point, the matches played on Thursday and Friday are worth two points, and the matches played on Saturday and Sunday are worth three points. Sunday’s lineup will feature all sixteen players competing in doubles.
Keys said that “…from the day that Bob told me that I was…in charge of creating a team, I’ve been thinking about it and stressing about it and trying—like, I've got pretty much every scenario that you could have.” The draft will be held Monday, and will be shown on Tennis Channel at 8 p.m. EST. Mattek-Sands won the coin toss which occurred at the end of the press conference, and will get first pick.
In addition to awarding prize money to players, the event will serve as a fundraiser for the Medical University of South Carolna’s frontline workers. Credit One Bank is a NASCAR sponsor, but this will be the company’s first participation in professional tennis.
Besides Keys (who is the defending Volvo Car Open champion) and Mattek-Sands, the Credit One Bank Invitational participants are:
2019 U.S. Open champion Bianca Andreescu
2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin
2016 Volvo Car Open champion Sloane Stephens
2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka
2016 Olympic gold medal winner Monica Puig