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Tennis Tours Hope to Salvage Their Seasons. It’s Not Getting Easier.

  • July 10, 2020

With its China swing in peril, Simon said the tour was considering staging tournaments in other locations late in the season. But he said the chances of moving the WTA Finals elsewhere on short notice were “remote.”

The WTA has no pandemic insurance for the event, but Simon said the tour would survive a cancellation. “The hole that we have will certainly be bigger and deeper,” he said. “But we do have plans in place that will allow us to come out of it and be OK. It will be a challenge, but we will be able to continue.”

Resuming play remains the objective for 2020. But it has become increasingly clear that if there is a restart, the tours will be even further from business as usual than expected.

Many events, including the United States Open, have long planned to go ahead without spectators. But travel restrictions and recent adjustments to the tours’ ranking systems could result in unequal access for players and significantly weaker fields for events like the U.S. Open, which is scheduled for Aug. 31 to Sept. 13 in New York.

Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the United States Tennis Association, said U.S.T.A. officials were working with the federal government to clarify the rules on quarantines and access for athletes and their teams when they enter the country.

He said the U.S.T.A. was also working with the tours, the French Tennis Federation and other entities to ensure that players would be able to travel freely to Europe after the U.S. Open.

There are major clay-court events in Madrid and Rome in the two weeks immediately after the U.S. Open. The French Open, the final Grand Slam event of 2020, is scheduled from Sept. 27 to Oct. 11. The concern is that players might simply choose to stay in Europe rather than travel to New York. Rafael Nadal, the reigning U.S. Open men’s singles champion, already has committed to Madrid but not yet to the Open.

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