(RE)Open Tour continues progress with new 16-player tournament

The (RE)Open continues on and has made a huge step forward in a return to normal play with the establishment of the largest exhibition tournament to date in the WTA.

The (RE)Open Tour has been the highlight of the ATP and WTA Tour’s season suspension. Multiple tournaments, including the UTR Pro Series in Palm Beach, Florida. As countries have begun to ease restrictions, local tournaments have sprung up to begin to return to normal play.

Arguably the biggest step forward in the exhibition tour’s development is a new 16-player field set to be played in June. Dubbed the “Credit One Bank Invitational“, the two-team event is scheduled to be held in Charleston, South Carolina, at the site of the Volvo Car Open. The event was canceled, however, the new team tournament will provide a welcome addition to the tennis season.

The teams will be captained by former US Open finalist Madison Keys and doubles specialist Bethanie Mattek-Sands. The pool of players is easily the most loaded in any tournament so far during the suspension. Headling the list are the past two major champions, 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and 2019 US Open champion Bianca Andreescu. Two more major champions, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka, are also joining the event.

2016 Olympic gold medalist Monica Puig and 2014 Wimbledon finalist Genie Bouchard are also heading the list, alongside Americans Allison Riske and Danielle Collins.

“[It] will help accomplish three very critical things: First, it is a tangible way to show the world we are able to bring back live sports for public enjoyment,” Ben Navarro, owner of Charleston Tennis LLC, said.

“Second, it allows our community and tennis fans all over to support the tennis professionals whose opportunities to compete this year have been severely limited; Third, it helps us show our frontline medical professionals how much we care.”

This is event marks the biggest tournament so far during the sport’s suspension. It’s a huge step forward for the sport; even though the event will be held without fans, the team event is progress in terms of bringing groups of people together at one time.

Although regular tournament play isn’t set to resume until August at the earliest, as the exhibition tournaments grow in size, it’ll be a huge step forward and could lead to 28-player events that are closer to lower-level events. From there, it’s only a matter of time before regular play resumes.