July 12, 2024

Open Court


Bouchard, Fernandez among World Team Tennis withdrawals


Bouchard and Bethanie Mattek-Sands were the dominant women's doubles team during the 2020 World Team Tennis season. But Bouchard won't be part of it in 2021.

If you follow Open Court on Twitter, you’ll remember we predicted this awhile ago.

But now World Team Tennis has confirmed that both Genie Bouchard and Leylah Fernandez have pulled out of the WTT season, scheduled to begin later this month.

They’re not alone.

Shelby Rogers, Bob & Mike Bryan, Brandon Nakashima, Reilly Opelka, Sam Querrey and Neal Skupski also have withdrawn.

Tough 2021 for exhibition league

The bubble concept World Team Tennis came up with last summer at the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia had a good turnout of players, and a lot more teams.

But this 2021 version, to be held at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, will be lacking in both after a pretty trying season on Tour for most of the players.

Only five teams will be on. hand: The New York Empire, Orange County Breakers, San Diego Aviators, Springfield Lasers and Chicago Smash.

If memory serves, three of those franchises have the same owner.

It will be an abbreviated two-week season, from Nov. 13-28.

Players added as replacements

Kirsten Flipkens and Chris Eubanks are joining Kim Clijsters with the New York Empire, with Jack Sock appearing in week one.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Tommy Paul will join Sloane Stephens with the Chicago Smash. Frances Tiafoe will play in week one, Paul in week two.

Amanda Anisimova and John Isner will play week one for the Breakers.

For the San Diego Aviators, Coco Vandeghe will play the whole season, while Taylor Fritz will play in week one, and Thanasi Kokkinakis in week two.

The Springfield Lasers will add Denis Kudla to Caty McNally. Mackenzie McDonald will play week one.

Bouchard still rehabbing shoulder

Bouchard was optimstic in thinking she could get back on court by the end of the year, after having shoulder surgery in June. But if you don’t try, you’ll never get.

During her stint on Tennis Channel during Indian Wells, she said she hoped for early in 2022.

Bouchard updated her fans on social media that her last checkup indicated she needed a few more weeks of intense physical therapy before getting back on court for the first time.

It’s all very optimistic. Most players who have shoulder surgery are out as much as a year. And they’re in one place the whole time, intensely rehabbing. Bouchard has been combining her rehab with other commitments across the continent this summer, which must be a logistical maze with having to find physiotherapists in every city.

As for Fernandez, she was down in Ecuador last week cheering on younger sister Bianca at a $25,000 ITF tournament. Ecuador is her father’s homeland.

She isn’t playing BJK Cup for Canada this week in Prague. And so she clearly has closed the books on 2021 and will use that time to prepare for 2022.

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