Former World No. 1 tennis player Maria Sharapova will not play World Team Tennis this season. The Russian was due to play for the Orange County Breakers this season. The Newport Beach-based team still plans to have its opener on July 12 against the San Diego Aviators at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, said Breakers general manager Allen Hardison to the LA Times.
But they have said they would continue to monitor the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Hardison says, "We are closely monitoring the [coronavirus] situation but as of right now, we still plan on playing as scheduled”.
Hardison said the Russian's decision to not the league this year was not due to the COVID-19 outbreak but rather that she will not be playing tennis in the public eye for some time. “Strictly tennis related. The message we got from her team is that for now, and potentially long-term, she will no longer be playing tennis in the public eye."
Sharapova retired from tennis earlier this year in January after winning five Grand Slam singles titles in her career. She had been bothered by several injuries in recent years which had limited her playing schedule over the past one year leading up to her retirement.
Carlos Silva, the league’s CEO said on Twitter, “We continue to monitor the #COVID19 situation and will post an update on Apr. 6. Please stay safe & members of the #WTTFamily should not hesitate to reach out to me directly with questions or concerns”. The three-week league which starts on July 12 is scheduled to end on August 1st.