The inaugural Fed Cup Finals, scheduled to be played in Budapest from 14-19 April, have become the latest tournament to fall victim to the coronavirus epidemic with organizers announcing its postponement.
The postponement of the Fed Cup Finals follows the news that the BNP Paribas Open, better known as Indian Wells, has been postponed indefinitely.
Patterned after the new-look Davis Cup Finals, which were played for the first time in Madrid last November, the Fed Cup Finals were to bring together 12 of the world’s top tennis nations in Budapest from 14-19 April.
But on Wednesday 11 March it was announced that host nation Hungary had banned inbound travel from the worst-affected nations as well as indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
The ITF announced in response that the Fed Cup Finals would not take place in April as scheduled.
ITF President David Haggerty said:
‘We are extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we will not risk the safety and welfare of players, captains, event staff or spectators. This decision has not been made lightly; the threat posed by the COVID-19 is a serious one and calls for us to act responsibly as a federation and as human beings. This situation goes beyond sport.’
The ITF insisted it remains committed to holding the Fed Cup Finals in 2020 and is working with the WTA and the Hungarian government, among others, to identify an alternative date for the tournament.
The Fed Cup play-offs which were due to take place from 17-18 April have also been postponed.
‘New dates for the Finals and for the Play-offs will be announced in due course and will primarily be guided by the length of time that tennis as a whole is affected by COVID-19. We will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the sport to ensure that the impact on players, tournaments, rights holders and fans is as minimal as possible.
‘In the meantime, the ITF COVID-19 Advisory Group will continue to monitor the situation closely and further decisions will be based on the facts, official data and expert advice.’
Indian Wells and the Fed Cup Finals have not been the only casualties to the tennis schedule – it was announced on Wednesday that the Braga Challenger has been cancelled, and the Challenger event in Nur-Sultan currently being played has been severely affected, with French and German players required to either leave the country or go into 14-day quarantine.
There have been calls from some players for the ITF to cancel all events until May.
The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, which takes place the same week as the Fed Cup Finals, released a statement on Wednesday saying:
‘In accordance with the provisions of the Monegasque and French authorities of Monday March 9th concerning the organization of the next sporting events, the Direction of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters assures its public that everything is being done to define the best solutions in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic.
‘If the event is to be kept behind closed doors, the Direction confirms that the tickets that have been purchased will be reimbursed. The conditions will be communicated at a later date.’
The next big event due to take place in tennis is the Miami Open, which begins on Tuesday 24 March.