Serving up the Wimbledon alternatives to live stream and see us through summer.

It’s the highlight of our sporting summer. And yet, of course, Wimbledon, like all other public events is cancelled this year for reasons we are, by now, extremely well-acquainted with. There will, of course, be airings of classic matches courtesy of the BBC which we shall, undoubtedly, be gathering round our televisions to re-live. But in the meantime, as the professional tours are on hold, some players have taken it into their own hands to give the sport-loving public what they want: live tennis.

They are all for fun – and some are in the name of a good cause – so they won’t affect current world rankings. But they will give us the fix that we need. Sure, there may be no glimpses at famous or royal faces in the crowds, and nor will there be the perennial question mark over whether this will be the year that Cliff Richard reprises his impromptu singalong in the rain. But we’ll take what we can get right now. Most likely while providing our own sitting room singalong and mainlining strawberries.

Here’s what to watch and how to tune in.

Schroders Battle of the Brits Exhibition Event

London,23 – 28 June
Live Stream via Amazon Prime
Jamie Murray, seven times Wimbledon doubles champion and brother to Wimbledon singles champion Andy, has not taken lockdown lying down. Far from using the time to catch up on box sets and become a couch potato like the rest of the planet, he has used his clout and ingenuity to stage the Battle of the Brits Exhibition Event, which hopes to raise at least £100k in aid of the NHS Together Charities.

Starring both Murray brothers, as well as Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund, it promises to be a fun event. Though remember, with professional sportspeople, there’s bound to be a hearty dose of strong competition. As Jamie Murray told the papers, ‘This is the first time these guys have come together to compete against each other. They have been trash-talking about this for quite a few weeks.’ You can watch it live via Amazon Prime. Meanwhile, the women’s Battle of the Brits, also at Roehampton’s National Tennis Centre, is set to take place from 13 July, starring British number three, Harriet Dart. At the time of writing, live streaming options were yet to be confirmed.

Adria Tour

Croatia, Until 5 July
Live Stream Bet365
Novak Djokovic is one of the best-loved – and most prodigiously talented – names in the game. Currently ranked world number one, he is joined in this charity tournament by world number three Dominic Thiem and world number seven Alexander Zverev. It’s an eight-man round robin tournament with proceeds going to childhood development and education programmes run by Djokovic's foundation. Winning all round.

Ultimate Tennis Showdown

France, Until 19 July (do check as dates TBC)
Live Stream Via UTS Live
In normal (which is to say pre-pandemic) life, Patrick Mouratoglou is the great Serena Williams’ coach. Now, as all the usual tennis tours stand still, he has turned his attention to staging the Ultimate Tennis Showdown at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Cannes. Underlining that this is all in aid of fun and showmanship rather than serious competitive sport, the players involved have been chosen as much for their big personalities as their sizeable serves. They include Greek world number six Stefanos Tsitsipas, Italy's Matteo Berrettini and Belgium’s David Goffin. Want to talk directly to the players? Subscribers who watch along will be able to ask them questions at the changeovers. The organisers say: ‘Eventually, events will take place all over the world. UTS is not designed to be a one-time hit; if UTS is a movie, we mean to make it a saga. Or think of it as the Netflix’s next binge-worthy TV show.’ Fun.

Credit One Bank Invitational

LTP Daniel Island, USA, 23 – 28 June
Live Stream via The Tennis Channel
Credit One Bank Invitational sees some of the top names in women’s tennis – including Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin, US Open victor Bianca Andreescu and former grand slam winners Kim Clijsters and Sloane Stephens – come together in South Carolina for sixteen singles matches and eight doubles events. The two team captains will be Madison Keys and Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the latter of whom commented: ‘The uncharted waters that we are currently facing calls for something completely fresh and new.’ A portion of the proceeds will be donated to MUSC Health’s care workers in South Carolina.

Elite Trophy

Prague, Until 27 July
Buy Tickets Via Elite Trophy
Running over four weekends, this charity tournament is headlined by two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and world number three, Karolina Pliskova. Each will head up a team featuring WTA players who rank in the top 50. The perfect opportunity for players to hit their stride after a hiatus, and for us to get our tennis hit. Preferably with plenty of top spin.

By Nancy Alsop
June 2020


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