Due to the recent decision by China’s General Administration of Sport, all international tournaments planned for the rest of the year will not be held, after all, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacts 7 WTA and 4 ATP Tour events scheduled for October and November, including the WTA Finals.
We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year. Unfortunately, this decision also includes the cancellation of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and as result, the corresponding Porsche Race to Shenzhen. We do, however, respect the decision that has been made and are eager to return to China as soon as possible next season. Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO
The directive, issued earlier this month by the General Administration of Sport in China, mandated that no international sporting events would proceed in China for the remainder of the year, but the WTA and the ATP had remained hopeful the decision might be rescinded for tennis.
“We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” stated Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Unfortunately, this decision also includes the cancellation of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and as result, the corresponding Porsche Race to Shenzhen.
“We do, however, respect the decision that has been made and are eager to return to China as soon as possible next season.
“We would like to acknowledge the significant efforts made by our tournaments in the region throughout this process along with the Chinese Tennis Association for their dedication and commitment to the WTA,” Simon added.
“We share in the disappointment of many around the world who were looking forward to this swing and appreciate all of the continued support from our fans, partners and the entire region, as we continue to navigate the remainder of the 2020 season.”
The WTA events affected on the 2020 provisional calendar are:
- Week of 12 October – China Open (Beijing)
- Week of 19 October – Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open
- Week of 19 October – Jiangxi Open (Nanchang)
- Week of 26 October – Zhengzhou Open
- Week of 9 November – Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen
- Week of 16 November – Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai
- Week of 23 November – Guangzhou Open
The ATP events affected are:
- Week of 28 November – Chengdu Open
- Week of 28 November – Huajin Securities Shukai Championships
- Week of 5 October – China Open (Beijing)
- Week of 11 October – Rolex Shanghai Masters
“Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “We respect the Chinese government’s decision to do what’s best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation.
“It’s with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year.
“These important events have been a cornerstone of the Tour’s presence in Asia and I want to thank the organisers for their commitment and cooperation.
“Chinese fans are some of the most passionate in the world and I know players will be looking forward to the next opportunity to play in front of them.”
Rather than trying to move or reschedule these events, the ATP and WTA tours announced they are scrapping them for this year.
Both the ATP and WTA continue to work on a revised calendar for the final section of the 2020 season, and are committed to moving forward with the return-to-play plan, which provides for operating as many tournaments and providing as many playing opportunities as possible this season, including the men’s Nitto ATP Finals in London in November.
A further update is expected in the next fortnight on revised provisional schedules of events for both tours as the pandemic situation is monitored closely and the organisations work with medical experts to protect the health and safety of players, officials, staff and fans.
All sanctioned tennis has been on hold since March because of the pandemic, and both tours are tentatively planning to resume in August.
Earlier this week, however, the ATP cancelled the tournament that was scheduled for Washington, with qualifying due to begin on 13 August.
The WTA still intends to return to action in Palermo, Italy, on 3 August.
The next planned Grand Slam tournament is the US Open, which is supposed to start in New York on 31 August, followed by the French Open that was been postponed from May to late September.
ITF Tours to resume
Meanwhile, the ITF has announced plans to resume play on four of its circuits – the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors, the ITF Seniors Tour, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour and the ITF Beach Tennis World Tour.
Both the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors and the ITF Beach Tennis World Tour are expected to restart in the week commencing 31 August and provisional calendars for these two Tours should be released soon.
No provisional dates have yet been set for the ITF Seniors Tour or the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, but each Tour’s Committee has decided that there will be no resumption of play on either circuit until at least 31 August.
Men’s and women’s events on the ITF World Tennis Tour are already scheduled to resume from 17 August.
Tournament calendars will remain subject to change depending on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
All ITF Tours have been suspended due to the pandemic since March, with the world rankings frozen since 16 March.
ITF President David Haggerty said: “We are pleased to be announcing steps towards a return to competitive tennis across all ITF Tours.
“This year has been a challenging one for all of us in the tennis world, and while we are all eager to resume the Tours as soon as possible in order to restore playing and earning opportunities for players across the world, we must ensure that we take the appropriate steps to make events as safe as possible when they restart.
“We remain in constant communication with our member national associations and will continue to support event hosts as the Tour resumption dates draw nearer.”
The ITF will have protocols in place for tournament hosts, to ensure participants prevent the spread of the virus.