TASS, May 15. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) will not hold any official competitions and tournaments until July 31, 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the ITF press service reports.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) put forward similar statements, meaning that there will be no official tennis competitions around the world until the end of July. The tennis season was initially put on hold for six weeks, before being first suspended until June 7 and later until July 13. The pandemic also disrupted the tennis world further, causing French Open organizers to reschedule the tournament to late September and Wimbledon to cancel altogether.
"Due to continued uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret to announce our decision to extend the suspension of the Tour," said ATP Chairperson Andrea Gaudenzi. "Just like tennis fans, players and tournament hosts all over the world, we share in the disappointment the Tour continues to be affected in this way. We continue to assess all of our options in an effort to resume the Tour as soon as it is safe to do so, including the feasibility of rescheduling events later in the season. As ever, the health and well-being of the tennis community and wider public remains our top priority in every decision we make."
ITF President David Haggerty echoed Gaudenzi’s sentiments. "These are tough and disappointing decisions to make, but health and safety remain our primary concern. We continue to review the global situation and assess all our options to resume international competition the moment it is safe to do so. We are working closely with tennis stakeholders to review the calendar and make the right decisions together," the ITF chief noted.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus - named COVID-19 by the WHO - have been reported in every corner of the globe.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 4,543,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 303,000 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 1,712,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
The pandemic caused multiple cancellations and postponements in the world of sports, the biggest being the decision to put off the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to 2021.