Dubai: Tennis tournaments around the world are among those badly hit from the estimated 120 major sporting events that have been postponed in recent times due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) have all rallied around the cause to take a united stand within hours of each other.
The ATP was the first to state that no professional tennis competitions will be held for the next six weeks at least. The ITF joined in later to announce that the world governing body for the sport had consulted with the ATP and the WTA before taking the precautionary measure.
The ATP Tour postponed play for six weeks because of the “escalating health and safety issues” arising from the coronavirus outbreak, while the WTA stated that no tournaments will be staged for at least the next five weeks.
“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, the ITF Beach Tennis World Tour and the ITF Seniors Tour will not be held at least till April 20,” the ITF statement said.
The governing body has also assured that the situation will be reviewed on a weekly basis, but insisted that “no ITF events will take place until at least the week of Monday, April 20.”
So what exactly are the consequences that will affect tennis due to these decisions?
All tournaments on the men’s ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour will stand cancelled at least until April 27, while no WTA tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks either and all ITF events will also stay on hold until April 20.
Ironically, the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open was the last event on the men’s calendar before the coronavirus precautions came into effect. The events at Indian Wells (March 12-22) and Miami (March 25-April 5) were joined by the Monte Carlo Masters (April 12-19) and the Barcelona Open (April 20-26) in being docked off. The ATP has assured that the impact of the suspension on the world rankings will be carefully considered.
While on the WTA, the events that had to be sacrificed so far are tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Guadalajara, Charleston and Bogota over the next five weeks. The WTA also assured that it will make a decision on the European clay court season — beginning in Stuttgart and Istanbul on April 20 — in the week ahead.
The scenario surrounding tournaments will also be bleak with some event owners facing huge consequences as they may not have insured against such a scenario, along with the fact that local economies will lose out. It won’t be too rosy for lower ranked players as they will face a loss of vital earnings along with travelling band of coaches and support staff and officials, as well as the freelance hospitality, security and media community who rely on such events.