Sunday, June 28, 2020

Peace overcomes Kindness

No, it isn't the title of an article in a trendy Internet health journal--it's the result of the Credit One Bank Invitational, played this week in Charleston at the Volvo Car Open site on Daniel Island. Team Peace, under the leadership of Bethanie Mattek-Sands, was the first to reach 25 points, defeating Team Kindness, whose captain was Madison Keys.

The largest tennis event organized since professional play was halted, the Credit One Bank Invitational also served as a fundraiser for the Medical University of South Carolina frontline workers.

There is no MVP award, but if there were, it would surely go to Jennifer Brady, who--playing for Team Peace--went 4-0, defeating Vika Azarenka and Sloane Stephens, and winning both of her doubles matches.

There was a lot of rain, and during one really intense storm, the court was flooded with purple light, "Purple Rain" was blasted out of the sound system, and the players sang the song. And until Moran confiscated it, Mattek-Sands possessed a pillow with tournament director Bob Moran's likeness on it. The players made public their current playlists, and the entire event had that good-hearted Charleston feel to it. All the matches were shown on Tennis Channel, and the commentators were obviously happy to be able to call a tennis event.

It was so eerie, looking at the empty stands in the Volvo Car Stadium, a venue I equate with crowd humor and enthusiasm. It's also a venue that represents comfort and support for the players, so it was a really good place to hold a team competition. And it was a model for how to hold a tournament during a pandemic--individual "pods" for the players, a no-touch process for ballkids, no handshakes, no hand-slaps.

(I do wonder, though, about the inevitable physical proximity that doubles partners have to have with one another, regardless of precautions.)

I was sorry that Bianca Andreescu withdrew, but her withdrawal didn't take away from the success of the event. It was a pleasure to see such spirited action on the green clay.

The final score:
Team Peace---26
Team Kindness--22


jwr said...

Brady deserves all the kudos she's getting but, beyond just seeing live tennis, I was happiest to see good results from Anisimova...Seems like she's (understandably) been in a funk since her father died. I hope it's a sign she's getting back on track. Settling on a coach probably didn't hurt.

Nondisposable Johnny

Diane said...

Yes, she seemed a bit shaky at first, but then settled in nicely. Perhaps a team event was just what she needed.