Halep: Prioritise Grand Slams and Premier events for remainder of 2020

andrewhendrie in News 17 Apr 2020
Halep 2020 season
Simona Halep (PA Images)

Reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep believes the 2020 season, if possible, should be restructured so the remaining Grand Slams and Premier Mandatory events take centre stage.

Wimbledon has already been cancelled for the first time in 75 years due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while the French Open made the controversial and unilateral call to move their tournament to a start date of September 20 – just one week after the U.S. Open is scheduled to finish.

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The nature of grass means that it’s basically impossible for Wimbledon to be held at any other time of the year, but Halep is adamant that Roland Garros and the U.S. Open – and other big tournaments like Premier Mandatories and Masters 1000s for the ATP – need to be held in 2020 if health authorities say it’s safe to do so.

“Well, if everything is safe and we are able to travel a 100 percent, I think that the priority has to be for the mandatory and Grand Slams, in my opinion,” Halep told Eurosport in a video call.

“Even if they change the dates, I feel like it should be a priority for these big tournaments. Because actually they keep the Tour very strong, so I have the feeling that it is going to happen if everything is okay. Even if the dates are changed, in my opinion.”

Tennis at all levels has been suspended until July 13 at the earliest after the ATP and WTA came together to make a joint statement following the cancellation of Wimbledon.

The Coupe Rogers in Montreal has also become the first casualty of the North American summer hardcourt season, with the Premier-5 tournament that was originally supposed to be held in August postponed to 2021 after the Quebec government banned all sport in the region.

Halep says both the ATP and WTA, along with the ITF, need to unify and involve the players in the process moving forward.

“I feel like the leaders of this tennis tour, they have to come together and also to ask the players because, in my opinion, we have a good word because we have to play,” Halep said.

“And they have to decide what is best for everybody. Not just for the tournaments or for the players.”

Halep added that she was worried for the state of tennis if no more tournaments were played in the 2020 season.

“I feel like if we stay one year without a tournament it’s going to be much harder to start again next year.”