- 25 Mar 2020
Wimbledon doesn’t rule “postponement and cancellation”
Wimbledon issued a statement to address the situation about the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. “The AELTC can confirm that it is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships 2020, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The AELTC is continuing a detailed evaluation of all scenarios for The Championships 2020, including postponement and cancellation, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.https://t.co/BjlPiyuTtf
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) March 25, 2020
The tournament is due to begin on June 29. “An emergency meeting of the AELTC Main Board is scheduled for next week, and in preparation we are communicating closely with the LTA, and with the ATP, WTA, ITF and the other Grand Slams. The build for The Championships is due to begin at the end of April. At this time, based on the advice we have received from the public health authorities, the very short window available to us to stage The Championships due to the nature of our surface suggests that postponement is not without significant risk and difficulty. Playing behind closed doors has been formally ruled out.”
Richard Lewis CBE, AELTC Chief Executive, assured that “a decision will be made” next week. “The single most important consideration is one of public health, and we are determined to act responsibly through the decisions we make. We are working hard to bring certainty to our plans for 2020.”
Thiago Seyboth Wild, first pro tennis player tested positive to Covid-19
20-year-old Thiago Seyboth Wild from Brazil, the world No. 114, announced on his Instagram account he was tested positive to Covid-19:
“Hey guys, I just want to let you know that I have contracted the Covid-19, but I have self-isolated myself in the past week and I have been taking care of myself following the doctor’s instructions. This is just a reminder for you too. Stay home to take care of the people you love and help us to not spread this disease. Stay home and stay safe.”
He’s the first pro tennis player to test positive for the Coronavirus.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed!
The Tokyo Olympic Games, originally scheduled for 2020, have been postponed “until the summer of 2021 at the latest” due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today. Since the first edition in 1896, this is the first postponement of the Olympic Games outside a period of war. Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and the International Olympic Committee president, Thomas Bach, was both agreed that a postponement was the most appropriate response to the global disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Here is the full statement from the international olympic committee and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee.
ATP and WTA on pause until June 7th!
ATP Tour and WTA Tour published a joint statement to extend the suspension of the circuit until June 7th, due to the coronavirus pandemic. “After careful consideration, and due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, all ATP and WTA tournaments in the Spring clay-court swing will not be held as scheduled. This includes the combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, along with the WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon.
The FedEx ATP Rankings will be frozen throughout this period and until further notice.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 18, 2020
“The professional tennis season is now suspended through 7 June 2020, including the ATP Challenger Tour and ITF World Tennis Tour.
“At this time, tournaments taking place from 8 June 2020 onwards are still planning to go ahead as per the published schedule. In parallel, the FedEx ATP Rankings and WTA Rankings will be frozen throughout this period and until further notice.”
Roland-Garros in the cyclone’s eye
Without naming the French Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA clearly points at Roland-Garros’ organisers decision to postpone the tournament until next autumn withouth any concertation. “The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community in order for the sport to move forward collectively in the best interest of players, tournaments and fans.
“We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximising the tennis calendar based on various return dates for the Tours, which remains an unknown at this time. We are committed to working through these matters with our player and tournament members, and the other governing bodies, in the weeks and months ahead.
“Now is not a time to act unilaterally, but in unison. All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game, a view that is shared by ATP, WTA, ITF, AELTC, Tennis Australia, and USTA.”
The US Open and the Laver Cup not happy with Roland-Garros announcement!
A few hours after the French Open announced the postponement of the tournament from May to September due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US Open clapped back. “The USTA is continuing to plan for the 2020 US Open and is not at this time implementing any changes to the schedule, read a statement posted by the US Open Twitter account on Tuesday. These are unprecedented times, though, and we are assessing all of our options, including the possibility of moving the tournament to a later date. At a time when the world is coming together, we recognize that such a decision should not be made unilaterally, and therefore the USTA would only do so in full consultation with the other grand slam tournaments, the WTA and ATP, the ITF and our partners, including the Laver Cup.”
The Laver Cup 2020, scheduled for September 25-27, responded on its official Twitter account: “This announcement came as a surprise to us and our partners – Tennis Australia, the USTA and the ATP. At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled.”
For more reactions, read also : World reaction to Roland-Garros announcement
Roland-Garros postponed and rescheduled in September!
To everybody’s surprise, Roland-Garros announced on Tuesday that the tournament would not be played as originally scheduled from May 24th to June 7th. It has been postponed until the autumn and will begin on September 20th to finish on October 4th.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) March 17, 2020
Roland-Garros’ statement: “Though nobody is able to predict what the situation will be on 18th May, the current confinement measures have made it impossible for us to continue with our preparations and, as a result, we are unable to hold the tournament on the dates originally planned.
In order to act responsibly and protect the health of its employees, service providers and suppliers during the organisation period, the FFT has chosen the only option that will allow them to maintain the 2020 edition of the tournament while joining the fight against COVID-19.
At this important period in its history, and since the progress of the stadium modernisation means the tournament can be held at this time, the FFT was keen to maintain the 2020 tournament. Therefore, this year’s Roland-Garros will be held from 20th September to 4th October.”
WTA Tour suspended until May 2nd
Due to ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, the WTA has announced the tour is suspended until May 2nd. WTA tournaments on clay in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague are officially cancelled.
The WTA Stuttgart event cancelled
That is not a surprise. The decision was taken by local authorities on Saturday by the local authorities: the Stuttgart Open will not happen at the end of April (20th-27th) because of the coronavirus crisis. Petra Kvitova was the winner in 2019.
Roland-Garros: “No intention of cancelling the event“
Roland-Garros’ organizers keep faith. Due to begin on May 24th, the French Open still hope to run as scheduled, as said on their official Twitter account.
“There are still a few months to go before the event. For the time being, we have no intention of cancelling the event. The French Tennis Federation will, as is its responsibility, follow the government’s lead when making any such decisions.”
There are still a few months to go before the event. For the time being, we have no intention of cancelling the event. The French Tennis Federation will, as is its responsibility, follow the government’s lead when making any such decisions.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) March 13, 2020
Monte-Carlo “absorb the shock”
The Monte-Carlo Open is cancelled due to the six-week suspension asked by the ATP Tour. The director of the tournament Zeljko Franulovic told French media L’Equipe that he would not ask for another date in the 2020 calendar. “We won’t ask for it. We are absorbing the shock and we are looking forward April 21st, 2021.”
WTA “not looking to impose a 6-week tour suspension“
Whereas everybody anticipated an announcement from WTA Tour to suspend all tournaments for six weeks, like ATP did, it could follow another path. According to Howard Fendrich, journalist for the Associated Press, WTA spokeswoman told him the women’s tour is “not looking to” impose a tour suspension, “at this point in time”. He assured that more information on the WTA schedule moving forward will follow quickly. To be continued…
Filed to AP: WTA spokeswoman Amy Binder tells me that, “at this point in time,” the women’s tour is “not looking to” impose a 6-week tour suspension the way the ATP did. More info on WTA schedule to come shortly.
— Howard Fendrich (@HowardFendrich) March 12, 2020
Official : ATP Tour suspended for six weeks!
The ATP has announced a six-week suspension of the men’s professional tennis tour due to public health & safety concerns over coronavirus. The affected ATP Tour events are tournaments in Miami, Houston, Marrakech, Monte-Carlo, Barcelone and Budapest. This week’s ATP Challenger tournaments in Nur Saltan, Kazhakstan, and Potchefstroom, are not able to be completed.
“This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. 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”, said the ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.
There is no decision yet about the ATP ranking points. April 27th is the present return date.
Trump in favour of a rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympics in 2021
Donald Trump, the President of the United States, stated that the postponing of the 2020 Olympics would be favourable amidst coronavirus outbreak. “Maybe they postpone it for a year. … I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it and make it a year later, that’s a better alternative than doing it with no crowd.” The decision on the Olympics will assuredly have an impact on calendars for both ATP and WTA.
Trump on the Tokyo Olympics: “Maybe they postpone it for a year. … I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it and make it a year later, that’s a better alternative than doing it with no crowd.” pic.twitter.com/uKwgYwBonr
— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) March 12, 2020
ITF also postpones all events
The International Tennis Federation followed closely the ATP, announcing also the postponement of all events until the week of April 20th. “This will be reviewed on a weekly basis but no ITF events will take place until at least the week of Monday 20 April. We will work closely with our partners and other stakeholders, Regional and National Associations, to determine suitable alternative dates, with the goal of enabling the resumption of playing opportunities across each category as soon as the situation allows.
The ITF is taking the precautionary measure to postpone all ITF-owned & sanctioned events until at least the week of Monday, April 20
— ITF (@ITF_Tennis) March 12, 2020
“Professional tennis is a collaboration between the ITF, the ATP and the WTA. Our respective organisations will therefore work hard to keep those affected informed and to minimise disruption to playing schedules and rankings. Matches currently in progress – including those subject to a rain delay – may be completed today but cannot be carried over until tomorrow. Any matches yet to be started today will be postponed.”
The 2020 Miami Open officially canceled
In an official statement, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced today that all county events are cancelled due to public health threat of COVID-19. “I have decided to suspend the operation of the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair, the Miami Open tennis tournament, the MIA 5K run, and all major events at the American Airlines Arena.”
James Blake on the Miami Open.
The 2021 tournament will take place from March 22nd to April 4th. pic.twitter.com/2YEdemZh4r
— Miami Open (@MiamiOpen) March 12, 2020
Heading towards a six-week suspension of the Tour?
Several media, like the BBC, the New York Times and L’Equipe, are announcing that the ATP and the WTA could make official today that the Tour is suspended for the next six weeks. It’d have been decided on Wednesday during the players’ councils. That decision would then also concern Miami, Houston, Marrakech and Monte-Carlo on the ATP Tour and Guadalajara, Charleston and Bogota in the WTA.
Nothing is official yet, but still, Novak Djokovic has left the United States on Wednesday night. His fitness trainer, Marco Panichi, posted a picture of the Serbian and his team on the plane back home. A post that has upset some players like Taro Daniel who wondered on Twitter if he had missed some information, blaming Djokovic, head of the players’ council, for not having shared the news. Noah Rubin also reacted to the pic on Twitter: “Being in the dark is common in this world. Let’s keep telling a select few what’s happening while the rest just guess.”
Fed Cup finals postponed
Following the Coronavirus outbreak, a state of emergency has just been declared in Hungary (13 cases confirmed for now). Indoor competitions with more than 100 people are now prohibited, for an undetermined period of time. The ITF has announced the postponement of both the Fed Cup Finals 2020 and Fed Cup Play-offs in response to COVID-19 health concerns. Event organisers said they will contact all ticket holders in the next 48 hours to advise them of their options. “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.” press release says.
BREAKING: Hungary declares state of emergency after 13 cases of coronavirus, bans indoor events with more than 100 people
— BNO Newsroom (@BNODesk) March 11, 2020
Why won’t Indian Wells be played?
The Indian Wells tournament was cancelled for safety reasons after a case of coronavirus infection was reported in the area of Coachella, a few miles from the stadium, in the valley situated in the South of California (read the statement here). The Riverside County Public Health Department declared a public health emergency in the aftermath. There was no mandatory regulation to cancel the event but the decision was made because “the health and safety of the neighborhood, the fans, the players, the volunteers, the sponsors, the staff, the sellers and all the persons involved in the event are the priority of the event“, said Tommy Haas, the BNP Paribas Open director.
24 hours after Indian Wells was cancelled, the number of coronavirus cases rose from one to six in the Coachella Valley, Riverside County health officials say.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 9, 2020
Who decided to cancel the 2020 Indian Wells tournament?
It can’t be said with certainty, but as it was communicated by the official twitter account of the BNP Paribas Open, the official name of the tournament, the decision seems to have been taken by the organization of Indian Wells, “as a result” of the public health emergency, says the statement. There was no statement from the WTA nor the ATP to own that decision when the decision was made, as they just repeated Indian Wells’ statement.
Was the decision predictable?
Not really. By the end of last week, the organizers communicated about the adjustments that were going to be implemented during the tournament, and offered to refund the tickets for the spectators who would want to cancel their trip for safety reasons because of the worldwide spread of the virus. On-site, the players and their teams took the final decision as a shock that nobody saw coming.
You probably all heard the news. Indian Wells cancelled. We are here and still deciding what’s next. So sad for all that is happening around the world with this situation. Hopefully soon solutions from the authorities. Stay all well and safe.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) March 9, 2020
Will tickets holders be reimbursed?
Yes, they will be. Or they will get a voucher for the 2021 edition of the tournament if they’re requesting it before March 31st. The form to fill is here. The process could take a little while, warned the tournament. Around 450 000 ticket holders come to the Indian Wells tennis garden every year.
Will the Miami Open (March 23rd – April 5th) be cancelled too?
At the time of writing this article (Monday, 9pm), the Miami Open has put out a statement that says that for now, everything is going as planned. “The 2020 Miami Open is moving forward as scheduled“, it says. Adding that they are “monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely” with all the official instances. They’re also working on “the recommended best practices” to provide a safe environment for everyone involved. As for the ATP, a statement from the chairman Andrea Gaudenzi published in the evening said that they were “monitoring the situation daily” and were “exploring all options for the operation of the upcoming tournaments, as health remains the top priority.”
Statement from the Miami Open. pic.twitter.com/kj6aDOmMwV
— Miami Open (@MiamiOpen) March 9, 2020
Sure, the Miami Open is on the other coast from Indian Wells but one can still wonder if it’s really going to be played as usual because the health department said this evening too that they were “advising all individuals who have traveled internationally to self-isolate for 14 days following their date of return to the United States.” “Individuals who have traveled internationally” would define a tennis player and all the other tennis people… Players who might go back home after the Indian Wells disaster would then be unable to get back to Miami to play. The situation, as seen in Indian Wells, can evolve dramatically very quickly so: wait and see.
Is Indian Wells cancelled or postponed?
The statement from the BNP Paribas Open and the communication of the tournament director Tommy Haas seem to let a window open for the event to be scheduled at another time this year. But nothing shows that it’d be possible as the schedule is even more packed this year due to the Games in Tokyo.
Are other big tournaments in jeopardy?
Jamie Murray’s tweet sums up the mood of the moment pretty well: there’s a morose veil on the tennis spring. « Doesn’t bode well for the tour if IW cancelled for 1 confirmed case in Coachella Valley. Broward county (Miami Open home) has more confirmed cases. Monte Carlo borders northern Italy currently in lockdown. Rome Masters? French Open? Wimbledon?!!! » If all areas were deciding to apply the same safety measures as Indian Wells, it could mean, at least, that Monte-Carlo (12-19 April) and Rome (10-17 May) could be cancelled too, especially as Italy is the third cluster of contamination worldwide.
In France, all football games in the top two divisions will be played behind closed doors until April 15th. A decision taken in conformity with a recommandation from the national Sports Ministry to limit gatherings at 1 000 people. This could have an impact on Monte-Carlo tournament, organized on French soil, in Roquebrune. For now, it’s only speculation, even if we also know that events in Xi’an (13 – 19 April) and Anning (27 April – 3 May), both in China, have already been cancelled. More than 1000 cases were registered in Germany and France, more than 500 in Spain, more than 250 in Switzerland, UK, and the Netherlands (for 7300 in Italy). Those numbers could mean a hectic clay season.
Could Roland-Garros follow the path of Indian Wells?
Since Sunday, every gathering of more 1000 persons is forbidden in France. And the Champions League football match between the PSG and Dortmund will have to be played behind closed doors following a decision taken by French police authorities in Paris. The Parc des Princes (50.000 seats), the stadium where the match should take place, is situated 500 meters away from Roland-Garros stadium. The French Tennis Federation, the organizer of Roland-Garros, said last week that as its stadium wasn’t considered as a close space, the tournament will be able to go on as scheduled.
It’s way too soon to have reliable pieces of information about the second Grand Slam of the year but it’s sure that the FFT, which would have to host more than 500 000 people in two weeks, wouldn’t be able to deny any administrative decision taken by the town. The French Federation, the organizer of Roland-Garros, say they won’t take any cancellation decision. Guy Forget, the tournament director, told the French newspaper L’Equipe : “If a decision is taken, it won’t come from the French Federation. We would follow the guidelines. A tournament without spectators would be a problem as well.”
How did the players react?
Not everybody showed the same sense of humor of John Millman, who was showing more regret about not having celebrated his Davis Cup victory with Australia enough. « If the news is true and Indian Wells is cancelled I kind of wish I’d stayed and gone out after Davis Cup… » Rafael Nadal and Cori Gauff said they were “sad“, Denis Shapovalov was “shocked”. The Belgian Kirsten Flipkens had a first heated reaction that didn’t go unnoticed and that, as our sources also say, is a good example of the feeling of shock that went through the players ranks when they discovered the news on twitter, without much regards for the athletes: “@WTA isn’t the least you can do is [sic] organizing an emergency meeting with the players????“