Tennis-ATP, WTA cancel China events, including Shenzen Finals

Credit: REUTERS/ALY SONG

The two main tennis tours on Friday cancelled all of their remaining tournaments in China for this year, including the flagship WTA Finals, in the wake of the country's ban on international sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Sudipto Ganguly

July 24 (Reuters) - The two main tennis tours on Friday cancelled all of their remaining tournaments in China for this year, including the flagship WTA Finals, in the wake of the country's ban on international sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The General Administration of Sport, China's highest sporting body, said only trial events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics would be held in 2020.

The ATP and WTA had held out hope of getting exemptions for their events as they tried to play as many tournaments as possible in an already heavily disrupted season but released statements conceding defeat within minutes of each other.

"We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year," WTA Chief Executive Steve Simon said in a statement.

The WTA had seven tournaments in China in its provisional calendar for the remainder of 2020, including the season-ending WTA Finals. The Tour resumes on Aug. 3 after five months with the Palermo Open in Sicily.

The ATP have cancelled the Shanghai Masters, Asia's only ATP Masters 1000 tournament, the China Open in Beijing, an ATP 500 event, as well as the Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships, ATP 250 events.

"It’s with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year," said ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi.

"We respect the Chinese government's decision to do what's best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation."

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Peter Rutherford )

((sudipto.ganguly@thomsonreuters.com; +91 22 6841 4383; Twitter: @Sudipto_Reuters;))

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