Steve Simon WTA Chairman and CEO
The WTA is starting to bow to reality, with the sanctioning body on Monday shutting down its calendar until May 2.
That date coincides with the intended start of the Madrid Masters, a large ATP-WTA event scheduled in one of the cities hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus.
The WTA only last week made a partial decision to eliminate a few weeks of play, in contrast to the ATP which immediately instituted a six-week hiatus.
But with the virus establishing a China-style foothold on the continent, forward planning in dicey.
“Due to the ongoing global coronavirus outbreak, the WTA tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will not be held as scheduled,” a statement read.
“We regret this is the case for all of our loyal fans, players, sponsors and all those who support women’s professional tennis.”
The document continued: “The WTA Tour is now suspended until May 2. We will make a decision in the week ahead regarding the remaining WTA European clay court events and will continue to monitor this situation closely and its impact on the 2020 WTA Tour season.”
An ATP board member has revealed that Federer, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No.2 Rafael Nadal played a major role in the decision to shut down the men’s season for at least the next six weeks.
Former doubles No. 1 Mark Knowles told the Tennis Channel that the top trio had a hand in what finally transpired in ATP executive suite.
Djokovic, head of the Player Council, and Nadal returned to Europe from Indian Wells, where they had been preparing for the first Masters 1000 of the season,
As a player rep to the board, Knowles had a ringside seat for the unprecedented discussions regarding shutting down the season just as the clay run is set to begin in Europe.
“I think one thing Roger, Rafa and Novak do not get enough credit; these guys are so involved which I think is incredibly lucky for all of us,” Knowles said.
“Three of the greatest players of all time but they are in on every decision.
“You would think when Roger underwent knee surgery he’d say say ‘I ‘m going to remove myself from the tour’.
“But he was one of the first guys to get in touch and make sure things are happening and we are making decisions accordingly.”
Federer meanwhile is keeping on top of the ATP COVID-19 crisis from his home in Switzerland as the 20-time Grand Slam winner rehabs after February knee surgery.
Tennis bad boy Bernard Tomic has self-isolated after showing symptoms of Covid-19.
Aussie Tomic is in isolation in Miami and told Melbourne’s Sun-Herald he fell ill last week.
“Since Tuesday, started feeling not right,” Tomic said.
“I already had shortness of breath and my immune system was low and run down.
“I’m currently in Miami and isolated away from everyone, as advised.
“I’m yet to be tested for it but I have all the symptoms.
Tomic competed in the ATP Challenger Tour event in Monterrey, Mexico, before travelling back to the US for the Miami Open, which was cancelled last week.
“I reckon I got it travelling from Mexico to Monterrey last week.”
The ATP Tour announced last week it was suspending the men’s tennis tour for six weeks “due to escalating health and safety issues” arising from the coronavirus pandemic.