ATP Tour

ATP suspends men's tour for 6 weeks over coronavirus

Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

The ATP announced Thursday it was suspending the men's tennis tour for six weeks "due to escalating health and safety issues" arising from the coronavirus pandemic.

All events on the ATP Tour and second-tier ATP Challenger Tour are cancelled until 27 April.

The announcement came shortly after the cancellation of the Miami Open, which followed the axing of Indian Wells and postponement of the Fed Cup finals.

The joint ATP and (women's) WTA tournament in Miami, one of the biggest to be held outside the four Grand Slams, had been due to start with qualifying on 23 March until the mayor of Miami-Dade County pulled the plug.

"This is not a decision that was taken lightly," said ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi, referring to the six-week suspension.

"However, we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.

"The worldwide nature of our sport and the international travel required presents significant risks and challenges in today's circumstances, as do the increasingly restrictive directives issued by local authorities."

The International Tennis Federation, which runs the lower tiers of the professional game as well as the junior and senior circuits, followed the ATP by announcing there would be no tournaments on any of its tours until 20 April at the earliest.

"This will be reviewed on a weekly basis but no ITF events will take place until at least the week of Monday, 20 April," the sport's governing body said in a statement.

It added: "The health and safety of players, player support teams, event staff and spectators must be the priority. It is not possible to predict the length of time that tennis as a whole will be affected by Covid-19, but we will continue to monitor the situation and act accordingly."

The current ATP Challenger tournaments in South Africa and Kazakhstan were called off, mid-match in some cases.

If the situation allows, the ATP Tour will resume with low-key tournaments in Munich and Estoril beginning on 27 April, followed a week later by the Madrid Open.

The second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, is still scheduled to start in Paris on 24 May.

The virus, which has so far infected more than 127,000 people globally and killed over 4,600, according to an AFP tally, is wreaking havoc on global sport.

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