Right now we should have been talking about Indian Wells but unfortunately we are not set to have any tennis until the end of April due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The outbreak was declared a pandemic last week by the World Health Organisation and countries have continued to go into lock down and sadly things look like getting worse before they get better.
But what is happening in Tennis?
No ATP action until 27th of April at the earliest
The tour has seen a suspension of all activity for the next 5 weeks.
All seven tournaments have been cancelled and are extremely unlikely to be played during the year.
The tour hopes to reconvene the week beginning the 27th of August which has two ATP 250 events in Estoril and Munich both on clay courts.
There has also been a complete ban on the ATP Challenger tour as well.
No WTA events until at least April 2nd but it’s the events making the move…
The WTA have not really handled this pretty well at all.
Expectations were on the WTA to announce a tour suspension but it has been anything but, there has been almost no communication and cancellations are coming from the tournaments and later being announced by the WTA.
The outbreak has seen these events cancelled up until the end of April:
Fed Cup Finals
Fed Cup Play-Offs
WTA Stuttgart has only announced in the last few days it has been cancelled but there has been no direct communication from the WTA about this until Monday.
The tour continue to say they are monitoring but it is still surprising they never called off events themselves and waited for the events to do it unlike the ATP. The WTA have said in the week they will make a decision regarding the rest of the European clay court season.
The tour is hoping to reconvene in Madrid in the week beginning 4th of May but the city is currently in lockdown.
ITF also announce tour suspension
The International Tennis Federation have also set out there plans for the coming week and all ‘ITF-owned and sanctioned events until at least the week of Monday, April 20th has been cancelled.
That week on the Women’s ITF tour five tournaments have already been cancelled with just a handful going ahead as things stand and on the men’s tour only four have been cancelled.
Ranking points, what happens?
The ATP have announced they are considering what to do but surprisingly no news yet from the WTA on their position.
There are two options…
- Either freeze the rankings and defending points that would have dropped off before postponed/cancelled events drop off in 2021
- Ranking points fall off as usual, it will be mean some players will take a big hit and could struggle to qualify for events with a lower ranking.
What will happen with Madrid and Rome?
With tennis not looking to return until the end of April as a potential starting point a week into May there is the joint events in Madrid and then Rome.
Despite Madrid being in complete lockdown and Italy in lockdown as well I’m pretty amazed that there is no info on the Madrid or Rome website and it is still very simple to buy tickets.
As things stand it is likely neither event will go ahead unless there is a drastic improvement on the current situation. Prior to Madrid going into lockdown and WHO announcing a global pandemic there were discussions over holding it behind closed doors.
With Rome, it is a sit and wait job. Right now it looks pretty bleak, international travel will be much lower if it did go ahead.
I think both events need to announce by Easter what is going on and can’t leave it last minute.
What are the players up to?
It isn’t all doom and gloom, the players have gone home and will wait around for what happens next.
Jamie Murray has taken up Monopoly, Alex de Minaur has found TikTok, Thiem’s stayed in Indian Wells before returning home to Austria, Karolina Pliskova is enjoying nature walks as is Donna Vekic but the Croat is doing it in a massive coat!
Olympic Games ahead as usual?
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that the Tokyo Olympic Games will go ahead as planned in July.
In his eighth years as Prime Minister he said:
“We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without a problem, as planned.”
It pretty much sums up what the IOC (International Olympic President) Thomas Bach said a couple of weeks ago that:
“Neither the word cancellation nor the word postponement were mentioned today.”
Thomas also said because of the contact they have with experts from WHO they were committed and positive on still fulfilling the July games.