The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

Tennis: ATP, ITF professional tennis tours halted for six weeks because of coronavirus concern

Associated Press Thursday, 12 March 2020, 15:38 Last update: about 3 months ago

The ATP called off all men's professional tennis tournaments for six weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a WTA spokeswoman told The Associated Press on Thursday that the women's tour was not immediately prepared to do the same.

Amy Binder wrote in an email to the AP that the WTA will announce information about upcoming events "shortly."

“At this point in time,” Binder wrote, “we are not looking to put in a 6 week suspension.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Hours earlier, the men's tour announced it was doing just that for the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour, while the the International Tennis Federation halted its lower-tier events.

In a further indication of the fractured nature of tennis decision-making, the ITF said its events would be on hold until April 22; the men's tour said its tournaments would not resume before the end of that week.

The next Grand Slam tournament, the French Open, is still scheduled to be held in Paris beginning May 24.

The combined men's and women's tournament at Indian Wells, California, that was scheduled to begin main-draw play this week already had been called off Sunday because of fears about the virus outbreak.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

Thursday's ATP announcement affects the combined men's and women's Miami Open, where play was supposed to begin in less than two weeks, along with the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championships in Houston, the Grand Prix Hassan II in Marrakech, the Monte Carlo Masters, the Barcelona Open and the Hungarian Open.

The Miami Open was supposed to be played March 23 to April 5 at the NFL's Dolphins stadium complex in Miami Gardens.

With Miami-Dade County under a state of emergency, Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced the cancellation of the Miami Open, along with a county youth fair and all major events at the Miami Heat's arena.

Unlike with Indian Wells, where there was an insistence that rescheduling later this year might be possible, Miami Open tournament director James Blake made clear that his event would not be played until 2021.

The Miami Open draws fans from all over the world, which compounded health concerns. Last year’s attendance totaled nearly 389,000, the most in tournament history. Tournament officials estimated the economic impact for South Florida at $390 million.

Most of the world’s top tennis players were supposed to participate in Miami; 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer was not going to be there because he is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

The ITF said Thursday its suspension applied to all tournaments on the men's and women's ITF World Tennis Tour, the ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, ITF Beach Tennis World Tour and ITF Seniors Tour.

  • don't miss