ATP, WTA Tours Working Together On New Tournament Calendars
The ATP and WTA tours are "examining contingency plans for post-coronavirus rescheduling, including the possibility of pushing back the end of the 2020 season," according to Rachel Eddie of the Melbourne AGE. The tours are "working together on ways to assemble a new calendar," including the prospect of "moving postponed tournaments into weeks that already have events and making the season longer than it already is by playing past the tours' originally slated November finishes." All pro tennis is suspended "at least until July 13." Meanwhile, Tennis Australia is "making contingencies in case the 2021 Australian Open can't go ahead as normal" next January. Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said that the organization is "preparing for the possibility that international players will have to undergo quarantine, or for the tournament to go ahead without fans in the stadiums" (Melbourne AGE, 4/7).
NO FANS BETTER THAN NO TENNIS: TENNIS.com's Matt Cronin noted one issue concerning tennis' return is "large crowds at tournaments, which are currently prohibited in a lot of countries." Both players and tournaments "have repeatedly expressed they do not want to play behind closed doors, but that could allow an easier restart." Tennis broadcaster Ted Robinson: "At some point, it seems imperative for tennis to play, regardless of spectator access. Livelihoods are at stake. Will many players will be forced to think about leaving tennis for another career during this long hiatus? Let alone coaches, physios, umpires. Individual tournaments may have revenue concerns to address. But my view is that we need competition as soon as safely possible” (TENNIS.com, 4/5).
TAKING A PAGE FROM RACING: REUTERS' Sudipto Ganguly reports organizers of the canceled Madrid Open will stage a "virtual competition to raise funds for struggling professionals amid the coronavirus shutdown." The tournament had been set for next month, but now will take place "on the Tennis World Tour videogame" April 27-30. Participants have yet to be confirmed, but plans have 16 men's and women's singles players in "each draw" and offer a purse of $162,000 for both. The winners "will decide how much they want to donate to their fellow professionals while an additional 50,000 euros will go towards reducing the social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic" (REUTERS, 4/7).