Clay season cancelled, rankings frozen (updated)

The official announcement, released just after 2 p.m. EDT Wednesday, was made jointly by the ATP and WTA Tours and sent out, notably, by the WTA Tour communications department.

“After careful consideration, and due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, all ATP and WTA tournaments in the Spring clay court swing will not be held as scheduled.”

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Beyond that, the WTA and ATP have jointly decided that the rankings will be “frozen throughout this period and until further notice.”

We’re told by the WTA Tour that the freeze will begin as of the start of Indian Wells – i.e., the points from the 2019 tournament will stay on.

With some of the smaller ITFs (the $25Ks and $15Ks) having their WTA points awarded on a delayed basis, there will be some adjustments for tournaments at that level that took place the week of March 2, and were halted mid-event the week of March 9 .

So, overall, the March 9 rankings will stand (notwithstanding those adjustments).

As for how it will all work once tennis begins again, that’s a very complex issue that is the subject of ongoing and frequent discussions, complicated by the fact that the start date remains, at this point, both distant and fluid.

The Tours have also preached acting in unison.

“All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game, a view that is shared by ATP, WTA, ITF, AELTC, Tennis Australia, and USTA,” the release said.

Notably excluded is the French Tennis Federation.

BMW Open scooped the Tours

Prior to the announcements the BMW Open, the ATP Tour 250-level event scheduled to take place April 25 through May 3 had announced it won’t take place “for the time being”.

The news release on the tournament website references a decision made Wednesday by the ATP Tour to “cancel all tournaments up to the French Open worldwide, due to the coronavirus”.

Also in the press release is intel into discussions within the ATP to reschedule cancelled tournaments later in the year – the BMW Open having “already expressed their interest” in this.

The additional tournaments that would fall under this decision would include the Masters 1000/WTA Premier Mandatory tournaments in Rome and Madrid, the ATP Tour tournaments in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon, and the WTA Tour events in Strasbourg and Rabat. 

ITF also cancelling through June 7

A few minutes after the ATP announcement, The ITF announced a pushing back of the blanket cancellation of all events it owns and sanctions until Monday, June 8.

(But, in the spirit of the competing factions, it sent out a heads up that it was coming about 11 minutes BEFORE the official WTA/ATP Tour announcement).

That is the day after what had been the men’s singles final, the final day of the French Open. And it correlates with the ATP/WTA dates.

The ITF cancellation roster includes men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour events, junior tournaments, the Beach Tennis tour, seniors tour and wheelchair tours.

Tuesday, the French Open announced it was postponing the tournament, with plans to hold it after the US Open in late September and early October.

If nothing else, its decision certainly appears to have spurred the Tours and the ITF to take action.

Strasbourg event looking for “fall re-schedule”

In announcing that the WTA tournament in Strasbourg, France, scheduled for the week before the French Open, would not be held, the organizers added that they were looking at a reschedule in the fall of 2020.

“Management is … currently working with all the stakeholders, including the WTA and the public and health authorities, to find the best possible date. As of now, no new date has been confirmed by the WTA. The new dates of the 2020 edition will be communicated soon.”

Meanwhile, the Mutua Madrid Open, the combined WTA and ATP Tour event, announced its cancellation and the option for fans to either get the same tickets for 2021, or get a refund.

But there is no mention of rescheduling the event.

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