The ATP and WTA on Friday said that all international tennis tournaments in China this year, including the Shanghai Masters and WTA Finals, have been cancelled because of the coronavirus threat.
The major blow to attempts to restart tennis comes after China said it would not stage most international sports events for the rest of 2020 to keep the pandemic in check.
“We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” Steve Simon, head of the Women’s Tennis Association, said in a statement. “We do however respect the decision that has been made (by Chinese authorities) and are eager to return to China as soon as possible next season.”
Among the seven WTA events cancelled is the Wuhan Open in October, which promised to be hugely symbolic as the city was at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak when it emerged late last year.
The ATP said it too was cancelling its tournaments in China for the rest of the year, including the prestigious Shanghai Masters and China Open — a men’s and women’s event — in Beijing.
“Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events. We respect the Chinese government’s decision to do what’s best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP chairman. “It’s with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year.”
The tennis season has been at a standstill since mid-March due to the virus outbreak worldwide and is struggling to restart.