- 24 Jul 2020
Three days after being banned from World TeamTennis due to a breach of the league’s Covid-19 protocols, American Danielle Collins has stated her case. The 26-year-old, who was playing for the Orlando Storm, claims she was never told that she wasn’t permitted to leave the event’s host site at the Greenbrier Club in West Virginia.
“There was a waiver that I signed that was specific to the safety protocols and practices that were to take place during World Team Tennis, and it didn’t have any mention of not leaving the hotel,” Collins told Christopher Clarey of the New York Times.
Danielle Collins maintains that her dismissal from World Team Tennis does not undermine her message to Novak Djokovic. She says she simply was not aware that it was forbidden to leave the event hotel. Meanwhile, the WTT experiment continues without herhttps://t.co/NCk7Kb9oNL
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) July 23, 2020
WTT CEO Carlos Silva says he verbally communicated the event’s strict rules to the players on two occasions, but reportedly did not do so in writing.
Silva says that he spoke about the league’s health and safety protocols on two occasions, once at an “all-hands” meeting in the stadium, held for players and event staff, and again on July 15, at a meeting for coaches and General Managers.
Collins said she had no recollection of hearing Silva speak about the subject at the meetings she attended.
The American took a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia (approximately two hours away by car) to shop for supplements to help with her rheumatoid arthritis, and when word got out that she had done so, she was immediately banned from completing the season. But Collins claims that she notified a member of the league’s staff before she went on the trip; she says the person made no objection.
“WTT staff were aware of that and didn’t say I couldn’t do that,” she told the Times.
Silva says inquiries left no evidence of a league employee giving Collins the go-ahead to take the trip to Virginia.
It should be noted that the league was made aware of Collins’ absence when she missed a pre-match Covid-19 test.
“She didn’t tell anybody she was going anywhere,” Collins’ team-mate told Nina Pantic of Tennis.com of the incident. “We were having a blood test yesterday. In the group chat it’s 3 p.m. and we’re leaving at 3:30 p.m. and she’s like ‘I’m in Charlottesville.'”
Apparently Monday wasn’t the first time Collins had left the site. The World No 51 told the New York Times that she left earlier in the season to care for her dog, apparently unbeknownst to anyone on staff.
The WTT has placed a high importance on creating a bubble and ensuring that players abide by the strict provisions put in place. As of Wednesday World TeamTennis had conducted 740 negative Covid-19 tests to players, coaches, trainers and staff on site.
“I don’t think Danielle was trying to do anything bad, but it put us in a situation where you’ve got to uphold what you are trying to do here so we can keep the other 150 people here safe,” said Silva.