Madison Keys did not get the chance to defend her title at the Volvo Car Open last month, after the largest women's only professional tennis tournament in North America was wiped out by the coronavirus pandemic.
But she will get to play tennis on Daniel Island this summer.
Keys will headline a made-for-TV tennis event from June 23-28 at LTP Daniel Island, host site of the Volvo Car Open, tournament director Bob Moran said Friday.
The six-day, 16-player event is called the Credit One Bank Invitational, and will be televised by The Tennis Channel. Keys and fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands will serve as captains for two eight-player teams for the event, which will have no spectators in the stands, Moran said.
The field also will include hometown players Shelby Rogers and Emma Navarro, along with reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu. Former Volvo Car Open champ Sloane Stephens, Victoria Azarenka, Amanda Anisimova, Monica Puig, Ajla Tomljanovic, Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, Genie Bouchard, Jennifer Brady and Leylah Fernandez round out the field.
Mattek-Sands, an American player and Olympic gold medalist, called the concept "fresh and new."
“I can’t think of a better way to start up tennis again than at the Credit One Bank Invitational," she said. “The uncharted waters that we are currently facing calls for something completely fresh and new. It’s an absolute honor to be selected as one of the captains for this team event. We will fill the sporting world with hope again and show our gratitude and appreciation for all essential workers around the world, and especially in Charleston.”
Ben Navarro, owner of Charleston Tennis LLC and the Volvo Car Open, said the event will raise money for health-care workers at Medical University of South Carolina.
"Charleston has proven time and again to be the poster child for resiliency – and in my mind, this special tournament will help accomplish three very critical things," said Ben Navarro, owner of Charleston Tennis LLC and the Volvo Car Open. "First, it is a tangible way to show the world we are able to bring back live sport for public enjoyments. Second, it allows our community and tennis fans all over to support the tennis professionals whose opportunities to compete this year have been severely limited.
"Third, it helps us show our frontline medical professionals how much we care, with half of the proceeds going directly to support MUSC.”
With 16 singles matches and eight doubles matches, and more 40 hours of coverage on the Tennis Channel, the event will be the largest-scale tennis event confirmed since the sport shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ever since the unfortunate cancellation of this year’s Volvo Car Open due to the coronavirus, we have been working tirelessly to figure out how and when to appropriately bring a world class event back to Charleston as quickly and safely as possible,” said Moran, president of Charleston Tennis LLC. “This tournament will have two equal beneficiaries – traditional prize money for the athletes, and a large fundraising structure to support front-line healthcare workers at MUSC.”
To minimize the amount of individuals on-site, players will call their own lines and receive assistance from only one ball kid and one official on court.
“We’re excited that the Credit One Bank Invitational will be held this summer in the South Carolina Lowcountry,” said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster. “With the NASCAR races at Darlington, we showed the world how to safely integrate live sports back into our culture, and now we get to do it again with tennis. The coordination and cooperation that goes into planning an event like this is immense and the challenges are daunting, but South Carolina continues to set an example for the rest of the country. This is an extraordinary example of perseverance and leadership.”