ATP Tour, ITF Tours suspended for six weeks due to COVID-19

Hannah Wilks:

All ATP Tour tournaments and ITF events scheduled for the next six weeks have been cancelled, including the Miami Open and Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters.

The decision has been taken to cancel all ATP Tour and ITF events until the beginning of May in response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, the new coronavirus strain.

The WTA Tour was expected to follow suit, but a WTA spokeswoman told journalists that the WTA was not currently intending to implement a similar six-week suspension.

A statement released on the ATP Tour website read:

The ATP announced a 6-week suspension of the men’s tour due to escalating health and safety issues arising from the global outbreak of COVID-19. The suspension means all ATP Tour & Challenger Tour events scheduled up to and inclusive of the week of April 20 will not take place.

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic on Wednesday. The virus is present in 114 countries and has killed more than 4,000 people globally.

The announcement followed shortly after the cancellation of the Miami Open by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez.

ATP Challenger Tour events currently taking place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan and Potchefstroom, South Africa have been suspended and will not be completed.

Andreas Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman, said:

This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic. The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today’s circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities. We continue to monitor this on a daily basis and we look forward to the Tour resuming when the situation improves. In the meantime, our thoughts and well-wishes are with all those that have been affected by the virus.

ATP & WTA tournaments affected

DatesTournamentLocationATP/WTA
16-21 MarchAbierto ZapopanGuadalajara, MexicoWTA 125
24 March-5 AprilMiami OpenMiami, Florida, USACombined
6-12 AprilU.S. Men’s Clay Court ChampionshipHouston, Texas, USAATP 250
6-12 AprilGrand Prix Hassan IIMarrakech, MoroccoATP 250
6-12 AprilVolvo Car OpenCharleston, South Carolina, USAWTA Premier
6-12 AprilCopa Claro ColsanitasBogota, ColombiaWTA International
12-19 AprilRolex Monte-Carlo MastersMonte Carlo, MonacoATP Masters 1000
20-26 AprilBarcelona Open Banc SabadellBarcelona, SpainATP 500
20-26 AprilHungarian OpenBudapest, HungaryATP 250
20-26 AprilPorsche Tennis Grand PrixStuttgart, GermanyWTA Premier
20-26 AprilIstanbul OpenIstanbul, TurkeyWTA International

The ITF announced later that they too would be cancelling all ITF events for a period of six weeks across the men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tours (commonly known as Futures) as well as juniors, seniors, wheelchair and beach tennis.

The ITF statement read:

‘Professional tennis is a collaboration between the ITF, the ATP and the WTA. Our respective organisations will therefore work hard to keep those affected informed and to minimise disruption to playing schedules and rankings.

‘The health and safety of players, player support teams, event staff and spectators must be the priority. It is not possible to predict the length of time that tennis as a whole will be affected by COVID-19, but we will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly.’

The impact of the outbreak on the tennis calendar has increased dramatically in recent days. The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, a Masters 1000 Series event for the ATP and a WTA Premier Mandatory tournament, was cancelled just days before it was due to begin when there was a single confirmed case of coronavirus in the Coachella Valley.

Players had already gathered in California for the ten-day tournament, and have stayed there, uncertain whether or not the upcoming Miami Open will take place or not – although it became increasingly evident that it was unlikely to do so.

The ITF announced the cancellation of the inaugural Fed Cup Finals, due to take place from 14-19 April in Budapest, as well as play-off ties scheduled to be played around the world at the same time, on Wednesday.

ATP and WTA player council meetings took place at Indian Wells and widespread reports started to leak out that the tours would be suspended for six weeks, although many players felt they were being left in the dark: