The ATP Tour announced Thursday that its tennis tour would be shutting down for six weeksout of concern for coronavirus.
The decision was made after the Players Council for both tours met Thursday.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement. “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.”
The WTA’s next three events — the Miami Open, the Volvo Car Open in Charleston, South Carolina and the Copa Colsanitas in Bogota, Colombia — were canceled because of the coronavirus.
The WTA released a statement at 3:30 p.m. ET in which chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in part: “The WTA, working alongside our player and tournament leaders, will make a decision in the week ahead regarding the European clay court season.”
On Sunday, the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California — one of the biggest events on both tours’ schedules — was canceled after Riverside County officials announced a public health emergency earlier that day.
The Miami Open, the next event on both the ATP and WTA calendars, had announced on Monday that it would proceed as scheduled with matches slated to begin March 23 and run through April 5. That tournament was canceled when Miami mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Miami-Dade County was under a state of emergency. Like Indian Wells, it is one of the sport’s most prestigious and lucrative tournaments, following the four Grand Slams.
Following the Miami Open, the ATP Tour had tournaments slated for Houston and Marrakech, Morocco, the week of April 6, followed by stops in Monte Carlo, Monaco; Barcelona, Spain; Budapest, Hungary; Munich, Germany; Estoril, Portugal; and Madrid, Spain; through the week of May 3.
The WTA has tournaments scheduled for Stuttgart, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey the week of April 20, followed by stops in Prague, Czech Republic; and Madrid through the week of May 2.
Additionally, Fed Cup matches that were scheduled for April 14-19 in Budapest were postponed by the International Tennis Federation on Wednesday. The United States was one of 12 women’s teams that had advanced to the Finals.
“The ITF is committed to delivering the Fed Cup Finals in 2020 and is in consultation with key stakeholders, including the Hungarian Government, the Hungarian Tennis Association (HTA) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to find a suitable alternative date for the tournament,” the ITF said in a statement.
While nothing official has been announced yet, it seems more than likely that the co-ed tournament in Rome scheduled for the week of May 10 would also be canceled. Italy has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus, and the entire country has been placed on lockdown.
The French Open is scheduled to begin in Paris on May 24, but there is no word yet on what the plans are for the season’s second Grand Slam.