How the coronavirus outbreak has affected tennis

By Eleanor Crooks, PA Tennis Correspondent
PA Media: Sport

Like every sport, tennis has been seriously affected by the coronavirus crisis, with a number of big tournaments either postponed or cancelled.

There will be no professional tournaments at any level until June 7 at the earliest.

Here, the PA news agency answers the key questions surrounding tennis and the shutdown.

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What’s definitely been cancelled?

Three big tournaments have so far been cancelled. The Miami Open and Madrid Open, which are both joint ATP and WTA events, will not be held in 2020 and neither will the men’s Masters tournament in Monte-Carlo. WTA Premier events in Charleston and Stuttgart have also been cancelled.

Which events have been postponed and until when?

French Open organisers unexpectedly announced last week that they were moving the tournament from May/June to September, a week after the end of the US Open. The decision was taken unilaterally, causing much disquiet in the sport, and it remains to be seen whether it will actually happen. Organisers of the big joint events in Indian Wells and Rome have both said they hope to rearrange while the intention is for the Fed Cup finals still to be held.

What’s likely to go soon?

Wimbledon is monitoring the situation (Steven Paston/PA)
Wimbledon is monitoring the situation (Steven Paston/PA)

All eyes will be on Wimbledon, which is the next big event in the firing line. The tournament is due to begin on June 29, so another delay would surely spell curtains. Given the conditions needed to play on grass, it would almost certainly be impossible to reschedule in 2020.

Is anything likely to remain on in 2020?

Tennis’ near 12-month schedule means at least part of the season should be possible, providing the coronavirus crisis eases over the next few months. The US Open, beginning on August 24, could be vulnerable, and the tours would need to decide whether to hold the ATP and WTA Finals if only a few tournaments are played. This year marks the end of the ATP Finals’ stay at London’s O2 Arena. The Davis Cup Finals is the last major event scheduled this season from November 23-29.

Where does the sport go from here?

Tennis is in a better position than many other sports given its schedule. Events that cannot be held this year will simply begin planning for 2021. The rankings have been frozen and will not begin updating until the season resumes. The concern for many lower-ranked players who live hand to mouth will be how to survive financially during this period, with no announcements yet of any support measures from the sport’s governing bodies.

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