Tennis chiefs developing contingency plans for late 2020 finish

andrewhendrie in News 08 Apr 2020
Tennis Return 2020
When will tennis resume? (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire) (Credit Image: © David Kirouac/Icon SMI via ZUMA Press)

ATP and WTA officials are mulling over contingency plans for the possibility of tennis returning before the end of 2020.

It seems unlikely that tennis will be able to resume this year due to the sport’s almost-unique travel requirements for players, their teams, officials, journalists and broadcast partners, but ATP and WTA chiefs are nevertheless examining all avenues for tournaments to be rescheduled at the end of the year in November and December – traditionally the off-season.

Read more: Latest tennis news

Currently, all forms of tennis have been suspended until July 13 – the day after Wimbledon, which was cancelled for the first time since World War Two last week.

Speaking to AP News, WTA Chairman Steve Simon said:

“The WTA is diligently working with our tournaments to maximise earning possibilities when the professional tennis circuit is able to resume and is considering an extension to the current 44-week season to enable more tournaments to take place.”

ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi echoed Simon’s comments, declaring anything is possible and the ATP would explore all strategies to hold as many tournaments as possible.

“Nothing is ruled out at this stage,” he said.

“We are currently assessing a number of revised calendars based on different return dates for the Tour, with the aim of rescheduling as many tournaments as possible.

“We are liaising closely with the other governing bodies with the common goal of trying to salvage as much of the season as possible,” he said, “once it is safe for the Tour to resume.”

There are currently 1,431,689 cases of COVID-19 worldwide as of Wednesday April 8, with 82,074 people dying of the disease.

USA have experienced a rapid increase of cases over the last fortnight and climbed above 400,000 on Wednesday, while Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the United Kingdom continue to be the most affected regions in Europe.

Nearly all sporting competitions around the world have been suspended due to the coronavirus, including the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Lower-ranked players are struggling to make ends meet financially due to the global pandemic, but Simon said the WTA weren’t in a ‘financial position’ to help players ‘at the level they were expecting’.

That being said, players should receive some amount of funding shortly, with the Mutua Madrid Open creating a virtual tennis tournament at the end of April, with the winners deciding how much of the €150,000 will be divided among players that need it most.