Fallout from last week’s mass cancellation of all autumn, 2020 tennis events in China intensified on Tuesday with a tournament scrapping in Japan.
The Pan-Pacific event, played last year in Osaka but moved back to Tokyo after renovation of the Olympic-venue Ariake colosseum, has been wiped out for this season due to COVID-19.
Organisers pulled the plug on a tournament which had been played uninterruptedly since 1984. Asia now has only the October Korea Open in Seoul remaining on the calendar after cancellation of seven WTA events in China.
“We were trying to find ways (to hold the Pan Pacific Open), such as having no audience or limiting the number of spectators,” organisers said in a statement.
“But we reached the tough conclusion that we have to cancel the tournament given the difficulty of ensuring the safety (of those involved).”
Already, the event had been moved from September to November in hopes that global health conditions might have improved since the pandemic took hold at the start of the year.
The Asian tennis collapse comes as the US Open and “Cincinnati” Masters next month in New York struggle to find footing, with officials working against the health odds to try and pull them off from mid-month without fans or media.
Virus conditions in the US remain dire, with a world-leading amount of infections and nearly 150,000 deaths.
Tennis is due to emerge from a five-month shutdown next week in Palermo, with a WTA clay tournament,