ATP and WTA will resume in August
PARIS - The leading tennis tours of the ATP and WTA will resume in August after a five-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers said Wednesday, while the US Open and French Open grand slams were also confirmed.
Women's play will resume from August 3 with a clay-court tournament in Palermo, Italy, while the men start August 14 on a Washington hard-court in reworked schedules.
The US Open starts August 31 at Flushing Meadows in New York which will also host the usual Cincinnati Masters tune-up event from the week before.
French organizers said their major would be delayed a week to allow qualifying after the US Open with the main draw at Roland Garros now beginning September 27, two weeks after the New York final.
The French Open moved from its original May/June slot due to the coronavirus outbreak while the US Open retains its planned berth. Only the Wimbledon grass court major will not be held in 2020 having been previously scrapped.
A statement said the rearranged dates would apply "providing the conditions relating to the Covid-19 health crisis allow it to go ahead."
Whether fans will be allowed in remains unclear, with Roland Garros saying it would work with the French government to ensure the health and safety of all people present. "All options will be considered and are susceptible to change," it added.
"In the current, difficult climate, we are well aware that it is a privilege to be able to hold Roland-Garros in its usual format," said French tennis chief Bernard Giudicelli.
"Especially since the qualifying tournament will help to financially support a category of professional players who have been severely affected by this unprecedented crisis."
Leading players including world number ones Ash Barty and Novak Djokovic had previously expressed doubt about the viability of playing in New York, a coronavirus hotspot, under a strict hygiene regime.
Six-time US Open champion Serena Williams, however, confirmed she was on board to again chase a record 24th grand slam and said she "can't wait to return to New York."
"First and foremost, our decision-making has been guided by the health and well-being of all who will take part in the 2020 US Open," said United States Tennis Association president Patrick Galbraith.
"After educating ourselves through consultations with experts, and following near round-the-clock planning for three months, we are confident that we have a plan that is safe, viable and the right thing to do for our sport."
The WTA Finals in Shenzhen, China, now conclude the season from November 9 with the ATP expecting to confirm further dates, ahead of the November finals in London, in mid-July.dpa