American Danielle Collins has been dismissed from the World TeamTennis event in West Virginia for breaking COVID-19 protocols, organisers said on Tuesday.
One of only a few live sports events allowing fans in North America to attend amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the entire three-week regular season of the WTT is being held at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia.
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"We have dismissed Danielle Collins ... for the remainder of the 2020 World TeamTennis season after breaking our COVID-19 protocols and leaving The Greenbrier Resort and the state of West Virginia," WTT Chief Executive Carlos Silva said in a statement.
"The protocols have been put in place and communicated numerous times to protect the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff which are of utmost importance to WTT."
The organisers did not provide details about the travel undertaken by the 26-year-old Collins, who made the semi-finals of the 2019 Australian Open.
Collins was last month highly critical of Novak Djokovic after the men's World No.1 said it would be "impossible" to play this year's US Open under COVID-19 protocols proposed by organisers.
The American accused Djokovic of being a hypocrite after he also tried to spearhead a fund that saw the top 100 players in the game help out lower-ranked players struggling financially during the COVID-19 break.
“This is a serious contradiction to previous comments about having players … inside the top 100 donate money to players outside of the top 250,” Collins wrote to Djokovic online.
“No one has been able to play sanctioned events or make money since February. Here we have an awesome opportunity with the US Open talking about proceeding forward with the event, with some strict safety precautions to make sure all players feel safe and their health is put first.
“This is a massive opportunity for players to start making money again, and here we have the top player in the world saying only being able to bring one person with (him) will be too difficult be able to bring his entourage.”
At the time, Collins, 26, implored the likes of Djokovic and Rafael Nadal to get behind the US Open push, rather than continually demonstrate their opposition towards it.
“If it’s safe to play, and the USTA, WTA and ATP do everything in their ability to prioritise the health of the players, I think we should support that,” Collins said.
“It’s easy when someone’s made $US150 million ($AUD 205m) throughout their career to try and tell people what to do with their money, and then turn down playing in the US Open.
Collins’ words come back to haunt her
“For those of us (most tennis players) who don’t travel with an entourage, we actually need to start working again. It would be nice to have the best player in the world supporting this opportunity and not spoiling it for the players and the fans!”
Unfortunately for the American, her latest actions in West Virginia are doing little to back up the sentiment she so passionately shared with Djokovic.
Multiple Grand Slam winners Venus Williams of the United States and Belgian Kim Clijsters, who is making a comeback to professional tennis, are among the top draws in the innovative mixed-gender league.
Safety measures taken by WTT to curb the potential spread of the virus include COVID-19 testing for participants and regular temperature checks, with organisers letting a maximum of 500 fans inside the 2,500-person stadium.
Frances Tiafoe, who reached the quarter-finals at the 2019 Australian Open, was forced to drop out of the WTT events after testing positive for COVID-19 while playing at the All-American Team Cup exhibition tournament in Atlanta.
with Yahoo Sport staff