The 2020 season has been upended by Wimbledon’s decision on Wednesday to call off this summer’s edition due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moments after the news was released the ATP and WTA extended the stoppage of their men’s and women’s seasons to July 13 – the day after original Wimbledon finals day; Tour events were already frozen through June 7.
“In addition to Wimbledon, the suspension covers the entirety of the ATP/WTA European grass court swing, including ATP events,” a statement read.
Now off the calendar for this summer: ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Stuttgart, London-Queen’s, Halle, Mallorca, Eastbourne, as well as WTA events in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Nottingham, Birmingham, Berlin, Eastbourne and Bad Homburg.
Added the ATP: “At this time, tournaments taking place from July 13, 2020 onwards are still planning to proceed as per the published schedule.”
“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing global povid of Covid-19, we have no choice but to suspend the tour until July 13th,” ATP boss Andrea Gaudenzi said.
“We made this decision in close cooperation with our members and the other tennis associations (WTA, ITF).
“We face the challenges in these unprecedented times when health and safety remain a top priority. We will do everything we can to ensure that the tour is resumed as soon as possible, as soon as it is safe and possible.”
Officials at the Halle event which Roger Federer plays each and every year as part of his Wimbledon tune-up – and as per a lifetime contract – expressed their regret for the unfortunate circumstances.
“We’ll come back even stronger in 2021 – with top-class sports, entertainment and a zest for life,” tournament director Ralf Weber said.
The event added a comment from ten-time champion and holder Federer:
“We are experiencing difficult times, however, we will come out of it stronger.
“I’m already excited about my return to Halle the next year. Stay healthy,” he said.
Virtual elimination of the 2020 campaign may well keep the fourth-ranked 38-year-old active on the ATP in 2021, with any creeping throughs of retirement put on deep hold.
Officials at Stuttgart’s Mercedes Cup also plan to bounce back – perhaps even before the end of the year.
“The organizers are now examining possible options for hosting the Mercedes Cup later this year,” a statement read.
“The only thing now is to contain the spread of the corona pandemic by adhering to official measures so that the sick can be treated medically in the best possible way,” Stuttgart TD Edwin Weindorfer added.
“Health is the most important thing – only once you have got a grip on the coronavirus around the world can you think of a life in a regulated way again.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will not only have intensive discussions about relocating the Mercedes Cup with the ATP, but of course also with all of our partners.
“The prerequisite for this is that the current situation relaxes so much that game operations can be resumed on the ATP tour.
“When a tournament is held, there must be no health risk for the players and their supervisors, for the tournament staff and the spectators.”
The scheduling pressure now falls on the US Open, whose own indoor practice facility at Flushing Meadows has been turned intro a COVID-19 treatment centre.
The major is due to start on August 29, with the US now leading the world in virus cases with the worst forecast over the coming weeks.
The calendar earthquake must also throw the French Open’s unilateral move from May-June to a September 20 start into serious doubt.
After the AELTC announcement, the USTA issued the a statement:
At this time the USTA still plans to host the US Open as scheduled, and we continue to hone plans to stage the tournament.
“The USTA is carefully monitoring the rapidly-changing environment surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, and is preparing for all contingencies.
“All decisions made by the USTA regarding the US Open will be made with the health and well-being of our players, fans, and all others involved in the tournament,” a statement from the USTA read.