WTT: Sportimes forced to move home matches to HVCC
The two World TeamTennis matches scheduled to be played at UAlbany’s SEFCU Arena in late July have been moved to Hudson Valley Community College because of a conflict with the New York Giants training camp at UAlbany.
In another late development that has had Sportimes general manager Nitty Singh scrambling in the last two weeks, John McEnroe will replace John Isner as a marquee player for the match scheduled for Tuesday, July 24.
As they did last year, the Sportimes will play two of their nine home matches in the Capital Region and the other seven in New York, but Singh was forced to look for another venue when she was told by UAlbany 16 days ago that SEFCU Arena was no longer available.
Giants players won’t report to camp until July 26, but the team didn’t want anyone using any of the facilities that they’ll be using as of July 24, the date of the Sportimes match against the Boston Lobsters, Singh said. The Sportimes also play a match here on Saturday, July 21.
“They asked us to move the matches earlier in the calendar, but we couldn’t do that. Then they asked if we could be out by the 20th, and there was no way we could do that, so it was a complete mess,” Singh said on Wednesday.
The short, concentrated WTT schedule is contingent upon the limited availability of the marquee players, and it would have been impossible to give it a complete overhaul, especially this late, to accommodate the movement of the two Capital Region matches.
The season starts on July 9.
Singh attempted to find another location for the matches, including the Glens Falls Civic Center, Siena College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, but they were either booked or couldn’t provide all of the required elements to put on a match.
She contacted Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber, but he only had the Saturday date open.
The Sportimes finally settled on the basketball arena at HVCC’s Edward F. McDonough Sports Complex.
It fit the bill, in terms of parking, seating and air conditioning, and the WTT approved it as long as the overhead basketball scoreboard could be removed.
“This came all of a sudden. It was a complete shock,” Singh said. “I had no options.
“I had never been to HVCC. I went and looked at it on Thursday night, walked in there and said, ‘Oh, my god, this is nice.’ ”
Last Friday, they ironed out the details to move the matches to south Troy.
On Tuesday, the WTT gave its approval.
In the meantime, Singh had lost Isner, the 6-foot-9 rising star for the U.S. who reached No. 9 in the world in March.
He was supposed to play for the Lobsters against the Sportimes on July 24, but then he was told by the U.S. Olympic Committee that he had to be in London for the Games the morning of that date.
The replacement marquee player will by McEnroe, who will play for the Sportimes.
On July 21, the Sportimes, who have Martina Hingis on their roster for the whole season, will play the Washington Kastles and Venus Williams.
In conjunction with the match on July 21, Chris Evert will make an appearance as an ambassador for the sport.