ATP CEO Andrea Gaudenzi isn’t ruling out a return to action in the 2020 tennis season. Here’s why the season should be scrapped completely.
The tennis season has been shut down since early March and is expected to stay that way until mid-July at the earliest as many countries around the world are still under lockdown. The Wimbledon Championships were cancelled for the first time since 1945, and the French Open has been moved back to mid-September (following the US Open).
Despite the amount of restrictions placed on tennis and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the season, ATP Tour CEO Andrea Gaudenzi is still not giving up on the return to normal play before the end of the year.
“It would be unwise to call it quits now,” Gaudenzi told Reuters. “Nobody knows what will happen, we want to keep an optimistic overview.
Without any real update in the last month or so, many star players, including 19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, have begun to discuss shutting down the 2020 season completely to prepare for the 2021 season.
“I would love to see a restart of the season, but I doubt it. I am more concerned about the Australian Open than about what will happen at the end of this year,” Nadal said on May 9th.
For me, the 2020 season is pretty much lost and I only hope we can start all over at the beginning of 2021.”
Gaudenzi and the ATP are moving through decisions for major 2020 tournaments in a six-to-eight week timeframe.
“We have set a deadline of May 15 for the tournaments in July, post Wimbledon, and June 1st for the tournaments in August,” the CEO said.
There’s no telling when tennis will be ready to return. Countries are in completely different stages of the pandemic, with some countries like the US placing heavy restrictions on travel and day-to-day operations, whereas other coutries, such as Sweden, have taken a completely different approach.
As much benefit as the pop-up UTR tournaments present as a move towards resuming play, it shouldn’t lead to a rush to do it. Since many countries have extreme restrictions on citizens, it’s likely that a majority of players wouldn’t be able to participate in certain events.
For example, if the US Open were still to be held in August, then it’s possible many players from Europe and/or Asia wouldn’t be able to participate due to the travel restrictions in their own country and in the US.
The same can be said for the Asian circuit, as well. October is marked as the starting point for the 2020 circuit. Currently, any non-native Chinese people are not currently allowed in the country. With that, the Masters 1000 Shanghai and Beijing 500 might both be cancelled if nothing improves.
The better option for the ATP would be to scrap the 2020 season altogether. It would allow for countries to rebound and relax the current restrictions. For players, they’ll be able to slowly work their ways back to playing form, from their homes to private courts to tournaments.
We’ll see how it plays out in the coming weeks to see what Gaudenzi and the ATP will do moving forward for the 2020 season.