It just might be the most frequently asked question in the entire sports universe: Tennis anyone?
But when it comes to the Credit One Bank Invitational, that question mark could turn into an exclamation point because this event offers tennis for everyone in a world that has seen normalcy wiped out because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Credit One Bank Invitational, which is slated for June 23-28 at the LTP Tennis Facility on Daniel Island, will offer fans around the globe a chance to tune into the Tennis Channel and watch an incredibly talented field compete in the biggest tennis event since professional tennis resumed in April.
The tournament will feature WTA superstars and the rising stars in an event that will be televised by the Tennis Channel. That means Charleston will get more than 40 hours of free publicity around the world, while proceeds will go toward a significant donation to Medical University of South Carolina healthcare workers, who will be on hand to ensure a safe environment for players and staff during the tournament.
The one catch?
Fans will not be in the stands.
The headliners of the 16-player field include Madison Keys, Bianca Andreescu and Sofia Kenin. Andrescu won the 2019 U.S. Open, while Kenin won the 2020 Australian Open.
Two of the rising stars of the event are local players Shelby Rogers and Emma Navarro.
Navarro is ready to showcase the skills that earned her the World No. 412 ranking last May in WTA singles.
She shines in doubles as well. She won the 2019 French Open Doubles championship, teaming with Chloe Beck. The duo finished runner-up in the 2019 Junior Australian Open Championship.
Navarro made her WTA main draw debut at the 2019 Volvo Car Open. She is ready for this month’s event, which will be contested on green clay.
“I’m excited every time I play in Charleston,” said Navarro, who turned 19 last month. “I love when the community comes out and watches me, cheers for me. I know when I play in Charleston, the crowd is behind me, win or lose.
“I know it’s going to be a little weird with no fans in the stands,” Navarro continued. “But when you are playing in Charleston, when you are playing on the Tennis Channel, you play as hard as you can. I just have to keep my mind on the court, and not in the stands. I won’t even think about it once the matches begin.”
Navarro, like every player on the WTA Tour, hasn’t played many competitive matches in quite a while. She stays sharp honing her skills at the LTP facility on Daniel Island. She has numerous members of her team who are always eager to be her hitting partner.
Navarro says her lack of competitive matches is not a setback.
“It gives you the extra time to focus on getting better, working on your shots,” Navarro said. “You can break down your game and work on each and every aspect. You can get better with practice.”
Bob Moran, who oversees the Volvo Car Open as the President of Charleston Tennis LLC, said this event is an opportunity for the city and the tennis community to show its resiliency. He also emphasized that the tournament supports frontline healthcare workers at MUSC.