LONDON (Reuters) – The men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour on Wednesday issued revised calendars for the resumption of professional tennis after the shutdown caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
FILE PHOTO: Aug 8, 2019; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Close up of the net and ATP logo during the Rogers Cup tennis tournament at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
The men’s Tour will resume on Aug. 14 with the Citi Open, ATP 500 event in Washington, D.C., while the first WTA event will be staged in Palermo, Italy from Aug. 3.
Tennis, apart from some exhibition events, ground to a halt in mid-March, with Wimbledon being cancelled altogether and the French Open moved to late September.
The new schedule will be subject to continued assessments relating to health and safety and international travel policies, ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said.
“It has been a truly collaborative effort and we hope to add more events to the calendar as the situation evolves,” he said.
“At every turn, ensuring that the resumption of the Tour takes place in a safe environment will be paramount.”
All tournaments will be staged without fans.
Following the Citi Open, the Cincinnati Masters 1000 will be held at Flushing Meadows, followed by the U.S. Open.
The men’s claycourt swing will start on Sept. 8 in Kitzbuhel, Austria, overlapping with the second week of the U.S. Open. The Madrid and Italian Opens lead up to Roland Garros.
The WTA announced 20 tournaments, beginning in Palermo, then moving to the Cincinnati tournament being staged in New York, before the U.S. Open. Following the U.S. Open, the WTA Tour will switch to clay, including the Madrid Open leading into Roland Garros which concludes on Oct. 11.
After that the WTA Tour will traverse Europe and Asia Pacific, including the China Open in Beijing and the season-ending WTA Finals in Shenzhen set for Nov. 9-15.
“For now, the vital energy of spectators in stadiums will be greatly missed, but our broadcast and social media partners are exploring new ways to engage with our fantastic fans,” WTA chairman Steve Simon said.
“It is our sincere hope and desire that we will be able to return to play this summer.”
The International Tennis Federation (ITF) said its ITF World Tour, the domain of lower-ranked players, will resume on Aug. 3 for women and Aug. 17 for men.
“Restoring earning opportunities for athletes at the earliest possible opportunity — in a manner which protects the health and safety of all involved — has been a priority throughout this period,” ITF chief David Haggerty said.
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis