By Arthur Kapetanakis
In a powerful display of unity during these extraordinary times, the ATP and WTA issued a joint statement on Wednesday regarding the suspension of both tours due to the global outbreak of COVID-19.
All ATP and WTA tournaments through May 23 will not be held as scheduled, including the combined events in Madrid and Rome. This effectively ends any hope of a traditional spring clay-court swing, with the announcement also impacting WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat, and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon.
With the prior postponement of the French Open, the professional tennis season is now suspended through June 7. According to the statement (available on both the ATP and WTA websites), all tournaments from June 8 onwards are still planning to go on as scheduled. In addition, all FedEx ATP Rankings and WTA Rankings will be frozen until further notice.
In alignment with the ATP and WTA, the ITF announced the suspension of the men’s and women’s ITF World Tennis Tour, ITF World Tennis Tour Juniors, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, ITF Beach Tennis World Tour and ITF Seniors Tour for the same time period.
These announcements extend the initial suspensions announced individually by the ATP, WTA and ITF.
"The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community, in order for the sport to move forward collectively in the best interest of players, tournaments and fans," the joint ATP and WTA statement reads.
"We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximizing the tennis calendar based on various return dates for the Tours, which remains an unknown at this time. We are committed to working through these matters with our player and tournament members, and the other governing bodies, in the weeks and months ahead.
"Now is not a time to act unilaterally, but in unison. All decisions related to the impact of the coronavirus require appropriate consultation and review with the stakeholders in the game, a view that is shared by ATP, WTA, ITF, AELTC, Tennis Australia and USTA."
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