The ATP have been pulled into a mess of their own making. It has been rumoured for a few days but the Citi Open in Washington which is meant to be the resumption of mens tennis is officially off.
In a statement they have said:
“After months of tireless work by our team and close collaboration with our many stakeholders, we are heartbroken to announce that we must unfortunately postpone the 52nd Citi Open until the summer of 2021,” said Mark Ein, Chairman, Citi Open. “With only 23 days left until the start of the tournament, there are too many unresolved external issues, including various international travel restrictions as well as troubling health and safety trends, that have forced us to make this decision now in fairness to our players, suppliers and partners, so that they can have certainty around their planning.”
The ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said:
“It’s disappointing that due to these unprecedented times, the Citi Open will not be able to go ahead this year,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “I know how hard Mark Ein and his team have worked to adapt to new and continually changing conditions and would like to recognize their outstanding commitment to staging the event. Unfortunately for the moment there are still large factors at play which are outside of our control. We look forward to the Citi Open returning as one of our signature American events in 2021.”
This is a mess which was predicted.
The revised calendar was released on the 17th of June when cases in Washington were going up gradually and have recently hit over 900 a day.
Citi Open have stated the “international travel restrictions” is the main problem with over 80% of their singles players having to travel in.
What I don’t understand is that this revised calendar was released at the same time as the US Open’s guidelines for the 2020 tournament were released which says:
“Federal government have assured USTA there will be no issues entering the country”
The big question is, when the ATP were putting out their revised calendar at the same time why then did they not go and get the same assurances from the federal government to be able to travel there? Makes no sense to release a calendar without assurances.
Not only have they shot themselves in the foot with this lack of a decision but the calendar itself is so biased it made no sense.
ATP made changes to be fair and flexible (in their own words), they also didn’t plan any events before US Open in Europe so players not wanting to go to America couldn’t play and also banned top ten players from skipping US Open (and Cincinnati) to play Kitzbuhel. It isn’t fair and far from flexible!
I don’t buy a potential excuse that there wasn’t tournaments to put in gaps in Europe, I think the ATP wanted everyone to go America. WTA managed to reschedule missed events and even put in a couple of new ones to bring options for players in USA and Europe.
It’s a messy situation, it is partially out of their control but better and fairer planning should have been in place from day one of this revision a month ago.
The news from New York is things for Cincinnati and US Open are still on course but a tough sell has become a tougher sell. Why would a player fancy traveling for around three weeks to play two hard court events ahead of a month of clay court tennis?