Transcript for Chris Evert talks the future of tennis amid coronavirus
Lately I've been I have been looking forward to this all morning long. We are back now with one of the greatest champions, Chris evert won 157 singles titles including 18 major championships. She's now an ESPN tennis analyst and there's no one better to talk about sports in the time of this coronavirus and, chrissie, joining us from her home in Florida. It is always wonderful to see you, Chris. You're also the chair of the usta's foundation's board of directors and there is a program that I know is very dear to your heart for kids. That's launching again. Can you tell us about it, Chris? Well, thank you. Nice to see you, robin. I'm chair of the usa foundation which is a charitable part of the usa and we have a kickoff campaign which is called rally to rebuild and basically what that means is usa foundation has 250 programs servicing 160,000 underresourced kids throughout the country and providing tennis and education, having that mix. And what happened was with the covid-19, a lot of these programs have been shut down. They've been hit hard. The families are really relying on these programs for their kids. So we want to get them back on track and authorized to do that, we have a goal of $5 million that we're trying to raise and the good news is, we've raised already $3.5 million in the last two weeks so, robin, people are really stepping up and it just goes along in parallels to the message we're giving out in today's age about equal and I think it's giving these kids equal opportunity to pursue their chromes. And how about keeping the kids safe and everybody that's going to be involved in the camp, keeping them safe during the coronavirus. How are you going to do that. Tennis is probably the safest sport out there. It has that safe distancing. You're on one side of the net. You have social distancing. When you change sides you can change sides on different sides of the post. You're really not in close contact with the players at all and the nice thing if you're serving and worrying about, you know, touching other people's tennis balls if you're serving, you bring your own balls and put your initial on it and use your when you think about it, you're not on top of one another. It's an individual sport and it is the safest and great exercise at the same time. It's great exercise. You're making me think about when I was a juneteenth and we used to mark our own tennis balls back in the day because they were expensive so we wanted to make sure we could keep them. Chrissie, let's talk about the pro game, because we saw the exhibition series where some players tested positive including number one Djokovic and they were out partying, there was no social distancing in the stands. We though that the U.S. Open is coming up so how can we make sure that the players do the right thing, Chris? We're not 100% sure the players will do the right thing and basically the good news is that the usa is planning on holding this U.S. Open and they want to mitigate every risk possible. I think that they're working with the best medical advisers. They're working with the best infectious disease specialists. They have protocols in place. It's going to be social distancing. It's going to be masks unless you're on the court. It's going to be no big teams with the players. You can bring one person on site. It's going to be strict testing. I mean, the players will be living in a bubble. They'll be staying in one hotel. You know, which is not in Manhattan. I tell you one thing the usa is doing everything they can to make sure it's a safe environment but the players better be diligent and they better be disciplined and they better be ready to live in a bubble and, again, no fans at the U.S. Open so I think what we'll do in the next six weeks is observe how the other sports are doing and learn from them when they're on TV. I think what Novak did, you know, was reckless and careless and we all have learned our lesson and -- but I think at the end of the day, robin, it's really up to the individual player to gauge his or her safety precaution and to gauge whether they want to play the U.S. Open and I don't think we'll hear about commitments until two or three weeks before the open. And you were saying if you were still playing, though you look like you could still get on the court and play that in the current climate right now, maybe not so much but you would wait until closer to? Yeah, in the current climate I would not make a commitment right now. I mean I think you have to wait to see how New York is doing, how the numbers are, where the curve is and what the health and safety -- I think that's why the U.S. Open is saying really the players are not going to commit until two to three weeks before. I would probably do the same thing, although on the good side Serena Williams and Venus William and coco gauff have committed so you have some players that have committed. That's right. You certainly have. And as I said, Chris, looks like you could step on the court right now. You look just the same and thank you for the work that you and everybody with the usa foundation, what you are doing to make opportunities available for all. Truly appreciate that, Chris. Thanks, robin. Great to see you again.
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