The Association of Tennis Professionals have made six further to the 2020 tennis calendar as a response to the spread of the COVID 19 virus.
The new cancellations mean that tour tennis will be played until at least June.
Following the decision last week to cancel the Monte Carlo and Rome Masters 1000 events, the new measures will also see the Masters tournaments cancelled in Madrid and Rome. A full updated list of cancelled tournaments can be found at the bottom of this article.
The two popular events in Spain and Italy’s capital cities were to be followed by smaller ATP 250 events in France and Switzerland. But the Lyon Open and Geneva Open will also be missed in 2020, meaning the entire clay court season is now written off.
The ATP announced that it would freeze its rankings, meaning that when players would usually lose points that they earnt 53 weeks ago (just over a year) they will no longer. This means as things stand world number one Novak Djokovic and number two Rafael Nadal will retain the 1000 ranking points they won for winning Madrid and Rome last year respectively.
This week’s news was also joined by the announcement that 2020’s Roland Garros will be postponed until September.
The year’s second Grand Slam was originally supposed to start at its usual time in late May, but due to the spread of the virus round Europe, tournament directors have chosen to move the event.
Around the world over 300,000 people have now tested positive for coronavirus, with Italy being the worst affected country at over 5,000 deaths. This is more than China where this new wave of the virus first surfaced.
The new restarting date for the ATP Tour is June 8th, which sees the beginning of the grass court season in Germany and The Netherlands.
Tennis fans, tournament directors and of course players will hope that they can resume play as usual in time for the European summer. However, various health experts and studies suggest that social distancing measures may be in place for up to a year, therefore putting more planned events at risk.
In a press release on their website, the ATP said: “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 committed to working through these matters with our player and tournament members, and the other governing bodies, in the weeks and months ahead.”
Twelve time French Open champion Rafael Nadal has paid tribute to frontline workers. On his social media he wrote: “I wanted to send a message of thanks to all the doctors, nurses and all the health personnel who are all protecting us, and to the police forces, civil and national guard, the army, and all those who make us feel a little safer, who are in the first line of fire.
“After all, they are those who are most at risk of catching [the virus] and they are our heroes. I want to express my admiration and thank you all.”
Novak Djokovic has also spoken about the issue of his social media. On his Twitter he has encouraged people to ‘stay home’ in an effort to reduce the spread.
Full list of ATP events cancelled due to the COVID 19:
23rd March: Miami Open, US, ATP Masters 1000
6th April: US Men’s Clay Court Championships, Houston, US, ATP 250 event
6th April: Grand Prix Hassan II, Marrakech, Morocco, ATP 250 event
13th April: Monte-Carlo Masters, Monaco, ATP Masters 1000
20th April: Barcelona Open, Spain, ATP 500 event
20th April: Hungarian Open, Budapest, Hungary, ATP 250 event
27th April: Estoril Open, Portugal, ATP 250 event
27th April: Bavarian International Championships, Munich, ATP 250 event
4th May: Madrid Open, Spain, ATP Masters 1000
11th May: Italian Open, Rome, Italy, ATP Masters 1000
18th May: Geneva Open, Switzerland, ATP 250 event
18th May: Lyon Open, France, ATP 250 event
25th May: French Open, Paris, France, Grand Slam- postponed until 21st September