World TeamTennis sends $1K each to its players

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The CEO of World TeamTennis says the league has sent $1,000 each to about 60 players and coaches as a “gift” to help them deal with the financial hardships presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Carlos Silva said in a telephone interview Thursday that the payments were not an advance of salary for the nine-team league, which was founded by Billie Jean King in the 1970s.

Explained Silva: “It wasn’t so much about the money, but a way to say, ‘Thank you,’ and just so they could use it for some rent or some groceries or anything they might need.”

All professional tennis events have been postponed or canceled until early July because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

There will be some tennis to watch on TV this weekend, though: A WTT all-star event featuring 2017 U.S. Open runner-up Madison Keys and other players will air Saturday on CBS. It was filmed March 1.

Silva said WTT is still planning to launch its three-week season on July 12, but will continue to monitor the situation and offer periodic updates.

Matches are slated to be held that day in Washington, Orlando, San Diego and Springfield, Missouri.

That date also was supposed to be when the men’s final was played at Wimbledon.

But the All England Club announced Wednesday that its Grand Slam tournament would not be played this year.

Shapovalov beats Johnson in straight sets at Japan Open

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TOKYO — Denis Shapovalov put up a near-perfect serving performance to beat Steve Johnson 6-3, 7-6 (3) at the Japan Open.

The seventh-seeded Canadian conceded only one point on his first serve and had 11 aces. Shapovalov, who lost in the semifinals four years ago, will next take on Japanese qualifier Rio Noguchi for a place in the quarterfinals.

“(This was) definitely one of my best serving matches,” Shapovalov said. “I kind of felt like I needed to against Steve . I’m very happy with my serving performance today and hopefully I can keep it up throughout the week.”

Also, Miomir Kecmanovic came back to beat Yoshihito Nishioka 2-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2, and Kwon Soon-woo defeated Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-2.

Alcaraz loses to Goffin in 1st match as No. 1

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Carlos Alcaraz’s first match as the No. 1-ranked player ended with a straight-set loss to David Goffin at the Astana Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard lost 7-5, 6-3 in his first tour match since winning the U.S. Open and capturing the No. 1 ranking.

“David was playing really, really well. To come back to competition is never easy,” Alcaraz said. “It’s really tough for me, for my confidence.”

Alcaraz came from 5-2 down to level the first set at 5-5, only to be broken again by his Belgian opponent.

“When you play against the World No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice,” Goffin said. “You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev and No. 3-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas both avoided similar upsets. Medvedev beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain 6-3, 6-1 and Tsitsipas ousted Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3. 6-4.