ATP scraps China swing of tennis tour for third year as COVID restrictions bite

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The men's tennis tour has scrapped plans to stage four tournaments in China later this year as the pandemic continues to take its toll on the sporting calendar.

Mandatory quarantine rules make it unfeasible for international players and tour officials to travel to the events, including the Shanghai Masters, a top-tier ATP 1000 tournament.

The lucrative Shanghai event had been due to run from October 9-16 and would have featured many of the world's top players.

Also cancelled are the Chengdu Open and the Zhuhai Championships, which were scheduled to begin on September 26, and the China Open, billed for the following week.

The ATP said it had cancelled the three-week China swing "due to ongoing restrictions related to COVID-19".

It marks a third successive year in which the run of tournaments has had to be cancelled, with China last hosting ATP events in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

At the same time as it cancelled the tournaments in China on Thursday, the ATP made provision for its players to keep earning by announcing six new events to take place in September and October.

Those events will be played in San Diego, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Florence, Gijon and Naples, the ATP said, with all at ATP 250 level, the lowest rung of the main tour.

The WTA, which runs the women's tour, announced last December it would be suspending all its tournaments in China due to concerns over the wellbeing of Peng Shuai, a professional tennis player who appeared to allege she had been sexually assaulted by a powerful former government official.

Former doubles world number one Peng has since denied making the accusations, yet the WTA has remained concerned for her safety and freedom.

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