The ATP and WTA Tours on Friday formally announced that all international tennis tournaments in China have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was reported earlier this month that China will cease to host any international event for the rest of the year, following a directive from its General Administration of Sports to keep the pandemic in check.
“We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a statement released by the tennis body. “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.”
The decision would mean that the seven WTA events, including China Open— a men’s and women’s event—on the 2020 provisional calendar will be cancelled.
The ATP announced that the Chengdu Open and Shanghai Masters will be among the cancelled tournaments.
“Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events. We respect the Chinese government’s decision to do what’s best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP chairman. “It’s with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year.”
Tennis, among other sports, has been suspended since March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus and the lockdown that was imposed subsequently. The governing bodies said they are monitoring the situation and working closely with health and medical experts to resume the sport safely.
The US Open is scheduled to go ahead as planned with restrictions and no spectators . Several high-profile tennis players, including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, have expressed their concerns over playing in the grand slam event starting from August 31.