Planned ATP restart event in Washington, D.C. cancelled by organisers

hannahwilks in ATP Tour 21 Jul 2020
Daniil Medvedev at the 2019 Citi Open; the 2020 tournament has been cancelled (Credit Image: © Kyle Gustafson/ZUMA Wire)

The Citi Open in Washington, D.C., due to be the first ATP Tour tournament since March, has been cancelled.

Tournament organizers cited ‘too many unresolved external issues’ in their statement announcing the cancellation of the Citi Open, which was due to begin on 14 August.

The Washington, D.C. event would have marked the resumption of the ATP Tour after an unprecedented shutdown which began in March with the cancellation of the Indian Wells Masters.

Organizers said that they were ‘heartbroken’ to cancel the tournament, which will now return in 2021.

The statement read:

‘With only 23 days left until the start of the tournament, there are too many unresolved external issues, including various international travel restrictions as well as troubling health and safety trends, that have forced us to make this decision now.’

The first ATP Tour event on the calendar is now the Western & Southern Open, usually played in Cincinnati as the Cincinnati Masters but now relocated to New York, which will take place from 22-28 August at the same venue where the US Open will take place a few days later.

Male players who are not based in the USA now face the prospect of travelling to a different continent for just three weeks of competition before having to immediately travel to Europe for four weeks of clay-court tennis.

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WTA Tour players are in a slightly different position, with the WTA Tour resuming on 3 August for the Palermo Ladies Open in Italy, followed by tournaments in Prague and Lexington, Kentucky. The Lexington event, known as the Top Seed Open, has been entered by Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens and is due to begin on 10 August.

The US Open is scheduled to be played without spectators between 31 August-13 September, but the news that the Citi Open has been cancelled will raise concerns that the tournament is not going to be able to take place.

A number of top players have been sceptical, or at least uncertain, about attending the US Open, including Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Elina Svitolina and Simona Halep. Most recently, world no. 3 Dominic Thiem said he was ‘still not 100% sure if it’s going to happen’.

The USTA were quick to issue a statement, emphasizing:

‘This decision in no way impacts the US Open or the Western & Southern Open. The USTA will create a safe and controlled environment for players and everyone else involved in both tournaments that mitigates health risks that was approved by the State of New York and also conforms to the standards put forth by New York City and the federal government.’

The Citi Open chairman, Mark Ein, told the New York Times:

‘The big issue really wasn’t a bubble plan. The big issue is immigration, getting people back and forth in and out of America. We don’t have clarity around that.’

It remains unclear whether travellers to the USA will be required to quarantine upon arrival – or whether they would have to quarantine upon their return to Europe. With the Madrid Masters beginning on the day of the US Open men’s final, and the French Open beginning exactly 14 days later, players could jeopardise their chance to compete on European clay effectively or entirely by travelling to the USA.