Autumn Chinese events could remain off the menu again for the ATP unless authorities there change course from the current policy of mass COVID lockdown.
With Beijing and Shanghai recently subject to lockdown as the rest of the globe mainly learns to live with the former pandemic, Tour officials are concerned about the fate of the Shanghai Masters and the Beijing event, which have not been staged since 2019, a few months before the pandemic began in China.
Tour boss Andrea Gaudenzi told Reuters that choices cannot be delayed much longer.
“The decision will be made soon. We are discussing with them on the protocols and on the way (forward),” the former player said.
“If the protocols are too strict, it will be quite unlikely that we can have the players fly there and do quarantines. The situation is pretty challenging in China.
“We haven’t made a decision but we expect to make a decision in the coming month or so.”
The hard choices have already been made by the WTA, which cancelled a handful of its important China event due to the 2021 controversy over the fate of former player Peng Shuai, went “missing” last November after accusing a former top Communist official of historic sexual violence.
Gaudenzi said the ATP may have to go nuclear with tournament scheduling if China does not loosen up on entry requirements for foreigners.
“We need to be prepared to readjust the calendar and find replacement single-year events if necessary, like we have done in the past two years,” Gaudenzi said.
“But there is always hope the situation might also change. We’ll adapt as best as we can.”
Shanghai and Beijing – a joint event with the WTA – have served for years as the October anchors of the autumn “Asian swing.”