Coronavirus: All tennis cancelled until 20 April because of outbreak

By Russell FullerBBC tennis correspondent
A general view of Court Rainier III as Rafael Nadal of Spain plays Grigor Dimitrov in the 2019 Monte Carlo Open
The Monte Carlo Open is among the ATP tournaments that will not take place in 2020 because of the coronavirus outbreak

No professional tennis tournaments will be played anywhere in the world until at least 20 April.

The ATP Tour has postponed all play for six weeks because of "escalating health and safety issues" arising from the coronavirus outbreak.

All tournaments on the men's ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour have been cancelled until 27 April.

No WTA tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks, either, with ITF events also on hold until 20 April.

"This is not a decision that was taken lightly," said the ATP chairman

Andrea Gaudenzi added: "It represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide.

"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. We continue to monitor this on a daily basis and we look forward to the Tour resuming when the situation improves."

The WTA proved more reluctant to impose a blanket suspension, but with the tournaments in Miami, Guadalajara, Charleston and Bogota all cancelled, there will be no play for at least five weeks.

The WTA added, in a statement, that it will make a decision about the viability of the European clay court season, which begins in Stuttgart and Istanbul on April 20, "in the week ahead".

The Miami Open was cancelled earlier on Thursday, following the postponement of Indian Wells and the Fed Cup Finals.

The ATP says the impact of the suspension on the world rankings will be carefully considered.

The suspension of all ATP events takes place with immediate effect, which means the two Challenger tournaments taking place in Kazakhstan and South Africa will not be completed.

In Potchefstroom, 18-year-old Briton Jack Draper was a game away from victory in his second-round match. They had stopped for rain, but will never resume.

Following meetings of the ATP and WTA player councils in Indian Wells, it became clear that a significant number of professionals did not feel happy about playing on through the crisis.

Following Wednesday's postponement of April's inaugural 12-team Fed Cup Finals, the ITF says all World Tennis Tour, wheelchair and junior events will be suspended for five weeks.

The World Tennis Tour provides a platform for thousands of players to try and break on to the higher tours.

As well as the loss of Indian Wells and Miami, the start of the European clay-court season will be severely affected.

The ATP events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona are among the tournaments that have been cancelled.

There will be huge consequences for some of the tournament owners, who may not be insured against such a scenario, as well as for local economies.

A loss of earnings will also be a major worry for lower-ranked players, not to mention the travelling band of coaches and support staff and officials, and the freelance hospitality, security and media community.

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