Tennis News

How Will The Coronavirus Affect Tennis in 2020?

The ATP Has Now Suspended the Tour For Six Weeks Due To Public Health & Safety Issues Over COVID-19

With news that the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells would not be held due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus, it raised the question of what other tennis tournaments might be forced by COVID-19 to cancel or postpone. 

The answer, as of 12th of Match 2020 is several as the ATP Tour has now suspended the tour for 12 weeks and events scheduled up to and inclusive of the week of June 7th will not take place.

The decision was kick-started after Indian Wells was forced to pull the plug after a case of the coronavirus was confirmed in the local Coachella Valley area.

That caused Riverside County Public Health Department to declare a public health emergency and along with a minimum of 539 other cases counted in the U.S. across 34 states, it was deemed enough of a public health risk to postpone the event.

While the possibility of playing behind closed doors was looked into, it was ultimately rejected by tournament officials and the news broke on Sunday evening.

We are very disappointed that the tournament will not take place, but the health and safety of the local community, fans, players, volunteers, sponsors, employees, vendors, and everyone involved with the event is of paramount importance. We are prepared to hold the tournament on another date and will explore options. Tommy Haas, Indian Wells Tournament Director

Then on the 12th of March after a crisis meeting, the ATP decided that the tour was to be suspended for a period of six weeks.

This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic. The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today’s circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities. We continue to monitor this on a daily basis and we look forward to the Tour resuming when the situation improves. In the meantime, our thoughts and well-wishes are with all those that have been affected by the virus. Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman

Which Other Tennis Tournaments Might Be Affected by the Coronavirus?

Cancelled

As it stands, the ATP and WTA event until June are suspended. The second-tier Challenger Tour is also impacted by the ban.

Several other sports have already been disrupted globally, with several countries such as Bulgaria, Romania and Switzerland opting to play football league matches behind closed doors.

The six-week suspension comes after the World Health Organization’s declaration on Wednesday that COVID-19 constitutes a global pandemic

So far, Italy, scheduled to hold a Masters 1000 in May, has been the worst-hit country in Europe, with over 8,000 cases reported. But the virus has started to spread throughout Europe in recent days, with an increasing number of cases registered in Germany, Greece, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia, and the U.K.

Upcoming Tournaments and Their Current Status

Miami Open Hard Rock
Tournament Date Cancelled / Postponed
BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells 12/03/2020 – 22/03/2020 Yes
Miami Open 25/03/2020 – 05/04/2020 Yes
U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship, Houston 06/04/2020 – 12/04/2020 Yes
Grand Prix Hassan II, Marrakech 06/04/2020 – 12/04/2020 Yes
Monte-Carlo Masters 12/04/2020 – 19/04/2020 Yes
Barcelona Open 20/04/2020 – 26/04/2020 Yes
Hungarian Open 20/04/2020 – 26/04/2020 Yes
Munich Open 27/04/2020 – 03/05/2020 Yes
Estoril Open 27/04/2020 – 03/05/2020 Yes
Madrid Open 03/05/2020 – 10/05/2020 Yes
Rome Masters 10/05/2020 – 17/05/2020 Yes
Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open  17/05/2020 – 23/05/2020 Yes
Open Parc Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes Lyon 17/05/2020 – 23/05/2020 Yes
Roland Garros 24/05/2020 – 06/07/2020 Yes, moved to 20th September

From here it does look like this is going to be the start of a long period that could bring severe disruptions to the tennis calendar and it's tough to see how tournaments could be rescheduled in what is already a jam-packed season.

Keep checking for more updates here as and when they come in.

What do you guys think? Did any of you have plans to attend upcoming tournaments? Should they play behind closed doors? Let me know in the comments.

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer. I watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or writing about tennis I play regularly myself and have a keen interest in tactics, equipment and technicalties of the sport.

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36 Comments

  1. It’s a bad day for tennis. A tournament of such magnitude and importance like Indian Wells getting postponed. I doubt whether they will find a slot to held this year some time later. Rome seems to be sure shot casualty. Olympics are under severe threat too.
    So not a bad time for knee surgery 🙂

  2. Ha ha 😂may be 😆to promote some Swiss pharmaceutical company he is going to endorse😜
    Question- I know players will lose points. If all the remaining tournaments till Wimbledon gets cancelled due to virus effect, players will keep losing points and nothing to gain?
    No 1, 2 may change and may be Fed can be back to 3.

    1. Interesting point. I think they can only lose last year’s points, or the ATP could make a temporary rule for people to carry over their points from last year, but I think that would be VERY complicated – what about people like Federer who’d already announced they weren’t going to play? I’m wondering what will happen about the Wimbledon ticket sales: will they sell them all as normal, sell a reduced number for the time being and more nearer the time if it does go ahead, or what?

      1. They shouldn’t. Rankings must stay the same.
        What they could do is an exception for the protected ranking rule, for the entries and maybe the seedings.
        Nothing more.

    2. Most of the Wimbledon tickets are already sold. It’s just the camping ones for sale on the day left.

      Public ballots and club ballots are done. Debenture’s all taken care of.

      1. I thought they didn’t usually actually complete the sales until around this time of year. Maybe I was wrong.

      2. Ballot is deffo done, I know some people who have purchased. I dunno what the cut-off point for payment will be, I guess those who haven’t yet paid will be thinking twice about it…

    3. Yes,must admit that my first thought was,not a bad time to be off the tour.
      However,this is a pretty awful time all round.Even if the events run ,will people be able to get there or be
      prepared to take the risk of travelling?
      I have a feeling that 2020 is going to be a non event for sport this year.
      Surely they won’t hold the Olympics?

    4. Exactly, and it should be like that. Rankings are strictly 52 week based.
      Everyone will lose their points until the summer for sure.

  3. Bummer for IW, without Roger there tennis is boring to watch. Roger really timed his surgery well….everyone will be worried about getting traveling to venue only to discover its been cancelled. Miami will be next to cancel no doubt, hopefully no.

    1. Hard to see Miami going ahead. Maybe it will depend on how many new cases come up in the next 7 days.

      Can they test every attendee before letting them in? 😆

      1. Lol doubt so need to wait 2-3 days for test results. At most take temperatures of each spectator. This will be a nightmare. 😂

      2. I hope the tournaments are insured for this sort of thing. Cancellation could make or break some of the smaller ones, I suspect.

  4. Wow…didn’t know that until now (no Roger no tennis). A super timely post, thanks Jonathan.
    Timely surgery for Fed, eh. When he is away from tennis, some things happen, I’m sure a certain fanbase would blame Fed for this 😆

  5. What a shock for everyone. Yes, good timing for Fed. I wonder what they will do with the ranking points? I can’t see Miami taking place either. Think of the losses just in the tennis world. Stock markets crashing.
    I’m happy I didn’t plan a trip there this year but do know others who are already there or were leaving to go soon. How many players are there practicing already? If you bought tickets through the tournament, a refund available. Many people buy through other sources, wonder about them…will they get a refund?

    I remember 2012 when a nasty gastrointestinal virus swept through the valley. Staff, players, fans, everyone was getting sick. Funny, nothing was cancelled or changed. First aide was busy. Fed got hit and in his first match he was sweating and pale. Managed to scrape through. Many players withdrew.

  6. Sooner or later almost everyone will get infected.
    For now it’s a matter of controlling the spread rate until some vaccine is developed, whose efficiency on the other hand is not likely to be 100% as it happens with many viral infections due the rate of mutations.
    Until then, people gatherings will have to be restricted, tennis and curling events alike. If that also means less football hooligans throwing and breaking stuff, the better…
    But ATP will have to handle the hot potatoe that is deciding what to do with the points. I’ll take 200, please, to I can enter the next Antarctica Challenger.

  7. I want to know what happens to the ranking points when an event is cancelled. Will everyone retain for one more year. ?

      1. Jajaja, I saw in Santiago that some guy with no ranking was invited to play in the qualys.
        Maybe we can arrange some deal and play there.

  8. Well, I hope everything gets cancelled until Halle, so Roger would be benefited hugely (both the rankings and GS record).
    I think they could play behind closed doors, and resigning part of the prize money. Ultimately arrange protected ranking if the span of time without playing reaches like 5 months.

    1. Since many people who attend events are more concerned with showing their social network pals that they have been there than actually enjoying the thing live, the stands could be fitted with selfie sticks on the seats with the smartphones facing the court. Then the owners could watch it remotely in the safety of their couches and the players would have a near zero risk of contamination.
      Just picture it. I don’t think many authors of dystopian novels have dared that far…

      1. Jajajaja, spot on.
        Someday in the near future, I can imagine that happening… So pathetic.

  9. I just can’t see Miami happening. Imagine if the decision backfires on them….
    All of clay must be in doubt. Spain has just announced closed door sport for foreseeable future.
    No one will want to travel to Italy even if ban lifted.
    If things improve summer/autumn it’s possible IW cld happen in place of the Asian swing??
    Seems to me they shld work to save the Slams but those are most risky due to numbers. No way the queue will happen….
    Tough times.
    Wash your hands friends 💪🏻

    1. I think there’s something with the ensurance companies going on, that’s why the don’t want to play even on closed doors.

  10. I was shocked at first when Indian Wells was cancelled but this feels like in was inevitable. I’m assuming the clay season is a bust as well? What will they do with the ranking points? Maybe Fed won’t loose too many.
    Where are the players…hanging out in IW or Miami?
    Time to watch AO 2017 again for a fix.

  11. Federer’s timing is impeccable as always. The ATP has suspended all tour events until early April at least…so even though he’ll be under-tennised during the grass season, so will everyone else. Just a matter of his recovering from the surgery.

    I’m sure Nadal is steaming, since Monte Carlo and Barcelona are among the events that were canceled. That’s maybe one-fifth of his ranking points gone right there.

    Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, washing their hands and avoiding large gatherings.

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