A trio of ATP summer clay events are banding together to try and reschedule during the autumn if the COVID-19 virus conditions in Europe allow.
Kitzbuhel in Austria, the Hamburg 500 tournament and the Swiss alpine outing in Gstaad are hoping for the best as all try to coordinate a rescheduling with borders between the trio of German-speaking nations due to re-open by June 15.
Gstaad and Hamburg in July and Kitzbuhel in early August are lobbying hard to be allowed to stage their tournaments – with or without fans.
Austria’s world No. 3 Dominic Thiem has a major interest in Gstaad (2015 title) and Kitz (defending champion); the two-time Roland Garros finalist against Rafael Nadal has always had a preference for the European clay of his youth.
The ATP has shut down all Tour tennis until at least July 31, with a revised calendar due to be unveiled next month.
Life has been complicated by the Paris decision to unilaterally shift that grand Slam to a late September start; the US open is still mulling all options and Wimbledon has been cancelled.
Kitzbuhel organisers are planning for a worst-case scenario of empty stands and social distancing on court.
“Even if the tournament can take place, we assume that we will not be able to play in front of crowds and would face a reduction in prize money,” TD Markus Gunthardt said.
“Without an audience, it would not be a total black eye for us – but not playing at all would be the worst.”
The Austrians are hoping for a European mini-circuit in September prior to a potential Paris start near the end of the month; but the plan might need an eventual cancellation of the in-danger US Open in the COVID-19 hotspot of New York.
Hamburg is dreaming of much the same result, with a ban on major events in Germany lingering until the end of August.
“We are now focusing fully on a possible relocation. For this we have to wait for the further course of the pandemic and the next decisions with regard to the execution of the tournaments in North America and especially the US Open,” Hamburg TD Sandra Reichel said on Friday.
Gstaad seems to be tagging along with no particular strategy yet announced by the Swiss.