- ITF postpones all events till April 20
The ATP Tour has postponed all play for six weeks “due to escalating health and safety issues” arising from the coronavirus outbreak.
All tournaments on the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour are cancelled until 27 April.
The Miami Open was cancelled earlier on Thursday, following the postponement of Indian Wells and the Fed Cup Finals.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly,” said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
“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.”
There has been no announcement yet regarding the WTA Tour.
Following meetings of the ATP and WTA player councils in Indian Wells, it became clear that a significant number of professionals did not feel happy about playing on through the crisis.
The ITF had already postponed April’s inaugural 12-team Fed Cup Finals in Budapest in the light of Hungary’s decision to limit indoor public gatherings to 100 people.
As well as the loss of Indian Wells and Miami, the start of the European clay-court season will be severely affected.
The ATP events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona are among the tournaments that have been cancelled.
There will be huge consequences for some of the tournament owners, who may not be insured against such a scenario, as well as for local economies.
A loss of earnings will also be a major worry for lower-ranked players, not to mention the travelling band of coaches and support staff, and the freelance hospitality, security and media community.
Meanwhile, following Thursday’s ATP announcement and based on discussions with both Tours, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) is taking the precautionary measure to postpone all ITF-owned and sanctioned events, across 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.
According to the world tennis body, there will be reviewed on a weekly basis “but no ITF events will take place until at least the week of Monday 20 April. We will work closely with our partners and other stakeholders, Regional and National Associations, to determine suitable alternative dates, with the goal of enabling the resumption of playing opportunities across each category as soon as the situation allows.”
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. “Matches currently in progress – including those subject to a rain delay – may be completed (yesterday) but cannot be carried over to today (Friday). Any matches yet to be started as at the time of the announcement have all been postponed,” ITF concluded stressed.
It said further that 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,” it concluded.