Team Peace defeated Team Kindness, 26-22, in the Credit One Bank Invitational, which concluded Sunday, June 28, at The Billie King Stadium on Daniel Island.
The event was mostly exhibition as many of the top players on the WTA Tour worked on their shot selection, improved their fitness and returned to a tennis world that had been shut down because of the COVID-19 virus thanks to a made-for-television event that was broadcast by the Tennis Channel.
The tournament counted toward the Universal Tennis Ratings, and used the Laver Cup Rules with play consisting of 16 singles and eight doubles matches.
It also gave the 16 players who entered the tournament their first paycheck in about three months. Players who ventured to Daniel Island included Madison Keys, Bethanie Mattek-Sands, Sofia Kenin, Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka, Amanda
Anisimova, Monica Puig, Ajla Tom-ljanovic, Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, Shelby Rogers, Genie Bouchard, Jennifer Brady, Leylah Fernandez, Emma Navarro and Caroline Dolehide.
MUSC, which provided health care workers to monitor players, also benefited from receiving $200,000 of the proceeds.
Bob Moran, the tournament director, was happy to see familiar faces despite an empty stadium.
“It was a very surreal week with all the preparations for an event that had no fans,” Moran said. “It was a great week for the players and my team. It was an event we can all be proud of but definitely had a different set of issues and worries.”
The big worry was the coronavirus, and every player’s health was the No. 1 priority.
“In the case of the players and their teams, this was the first time back competing and seeing each other,” Moran said. “Wearing masks and keeping distant is not in our nature so there were constant reminders each day. It wasn’t easy.”
The tournament was held about the same time Charleston and South Carolina witnessed an alarming increase in the number of people who came down with the virus.
“It definitely was top of mind for players and all of us,” Moran said “We played in the evenings and had all of our meals pre-made and packaged before delivery so there was really no need to go out. The daily coverage of cases reinforced the need to be safe and stay on site or in their hotel rooms.”
It could be the only time the Credit One Bank Invitational will be held, especially if the tennis world returns to normal.
For now, the tournament is the model on how to run an event in today’s world.
“It’s going to take a complete reboot as to how we produce events and the ability to create a healthy and safe environment,” Moran said. “This is completely new to all of us so there are no best practices or a playbook so we all, as operators, have to work together to approach events. From ticketing to food and beverage services to bathrooms, etc, etc. We’ll need to continue to build the proper protocols. The good news is that this is happening right now within our event community across the world and I believe we will have protocols built for health and safety that will allow everyone to feel good about coming back to events.”