Due to the unfortunate conflict currently occurring in the Middle East, the 2023 Tel Aviv Watergen Open has had to be canceled. The event was an ATP 250 event and started as a tour-level event in 1978. The tournament was not held from 2000 through 2021, however. It returned in 2022 with Novak Djokovic winning the tournament. To make up for the loss of the Tel Aviv Open, the ATP has given a one-year license to the Sofia Open in (you guessed it!) Sofia, Bulgaria.
The Sofia Open will be an indoor hard-court tournament that is played on acrylic on wood. The tournament will be held in the Sofia Arena. While not on the original schedule for 2023, the tournament was held from 2016 through 2022.
The past winners of the Sofia Open are impressive. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov won the tournament in his home nation in 2017. Daniil Medvedev won the tourney in 2019. Jannik Sinner won in back-to-back years in 2020 and 2021. In 2022, Marc-Andrea Husler defeated Holger Rune in the final.
Sofia Open steps in to replace Tel Aviv Open on 2023 schedule
According to Bulgarian Tennis Federation President Stefan Tzvetkov, “We’re excited to host ATP Tour tennis back in the historic city of Sofia again. It goes without saying that we wish the circumstances were different, and our thoughts remain with all those affected by the terrible conflict. Our appreciation goes to ATP, the Bulgarian Government, the Municipality, and our team.”
And he’s completely correct. Few people want what is happening in Palestine and Israel to be happening. I definitely wish for a speedy end – relative end, unfortunately, as there have been on-and-off issues in the area for decades – to the current problems. While a tennis tournament is not anywhere nearly as important as people’s lives, obviously, hopefully a tennis tournament will be held in Israel soon as that would be an indication that the issues in the area have returned to a more normal level.
The Sofia Open will be held prior to the Nitto ATP Finals. The dates will be from November 4 to 11. The draw for the tournament will be held closer to November 4.