By Arthur Kapetanakis
The ATP and WTA released provisional calendars for an August return to tennis on Wednesday, with the tours planning a brief run-up to the 2020 Western & Southern Open and 2020 US Open, which will both be played at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
The ATP's proposed schedule begins on Aug. 14 with the Citi Open, an ATP 250 event in Washington, D.C., ahead of the relocated Cincinnati Masters 1000 event. Following the US Open is a modified clay-court season, with the Masters 1000 events in Madrid and Rome preceding the French Open's Sept. 27 start.
“Our objective has been to reschedule as many tournaments as possible and salvage as much of the season as we can,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP chairman. “It has been a truly collaborative effort, and we hope to add more events to the calendar as the situation evolves."
The WTA calendar revealed an Aug. 3 restart date, with the International event in Palermo, Italy, followed by a to-be-determined slot ahead of the action in New York. It also includes Madrid (a Premier Mandatory tournament) and Rome (Premier 5) ahead of the French Open, and continues through the end of November, with the WTA Finals earmarked for Shenzhen, China, beginning Nov. 9.
"Having assessed the global outlook for travel in the latter half of the year, working with our medical experts on providing the safest environment possible, and working through the diverse operational challenges for running events safely in the context of COVID-19, the WTA is pleased to release a calendar for the remainder of the 2020 season," explained WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon.
The ITF also announced that the ITF World Tennis Tour is set to return Aug. 3 on the women's side and Aug. 17 for the men. A provisional calendar is currently being finalized.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for our sport and, while acknowledging that there will still be challenges ahead, we are pleased that international tour competition will be able to resume in August," David Haggerty, ITF president, said. "Restoring earning opportunities for athletes at the earliest possible opportunity—in a manner which protects the health and safety of all involved—has been a priority throughout this period."
All events are expected to be held with no (or, in some potential cases, significantly reduced) fans on site.
A return to play in August would mark nearly five months since COVID-19 forced the suspension of the ATP, WTA and ITF tours in March.