The chances of both the remaining tennis Grand Slams of 2020, the US Open and the French Open, have receded. Instead they could well join Wimbledon on the cancelled list.
That is following Friday’s decision by two of the sports’ governing bodies, the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) and the ITF (International Tennis Federation) to extend their suspension of the sport until July 31st. The third, the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) has indicated that it provide an update on the status of their events scheduled for late July next month, but they are likely to follow suit.
Originally suspended in early march because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a provisional restart date of July 13th had been pencilled in the diary. However, with the global health situation showing no signs of having improved sufficiently to permit a resumption of the sport, especially with the prevailing restrictions on international travel. It is judged too soon to return to action once again, raising big question marks over the two remaining Grand Slams.
The US Open is due to begin in New York on August 1st, but with the city the epicentre of the pandemic in the country, and many of the facilities at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center where it is held requisitioned by health authorities in the battle against the virus, organisers have become looking for an alternative venue for an event that annually attracts some 750,000 spectators.
And the French Open, which has already been rescheduled from its traditional slot of late May to the end of September, is also in jeopardy.
In the meantime, the latest news means that the ATP events scheduled for Hamburg, Bastad, Newport, Los Cabos, Gstaad, Umag, Atalanta and Kitzbühel have all been cancelled, and the WTA tournaments in Bastad, Lausanne, Bucharest and Jurmala are likely to go the same way. A host of ITF events have also been cancelled as well.
Officials from the governing bodies insist that they continue to explore all options for a resumption of professional tennis, but with the health of players, staff and all in the wider tennis community their number one priority, they will not be rushed back.