For months, anticipation has been building for the resumption of the ATP and WTA tours. One-off events staged throughout the United States, Europe and Australia have provided mixed results for the sport’s safe return, calling into question whether a full reopen would happen in 2020.
On Tuesday, that doubt increased when the ATP saw its restart pushed back further. Citi Open organizers announced they would not hold their ATP 500 tournament in Washington, D.C. for reasons beyond their control, such as international travel restrictions and alarming COVID-19 trends throughout the U.S.
“After months of tireless work by our team and close collaboration with our many stakeholders, we are heartbroken to announce that we must unfortunately postpone the 52nd Citi Open until the summer of 2021,” the tournament’s statement said. “With only 23 days left until the start of the tournament, there are too many unresolved external issues, including various international travel restrictions as well as troubling health and safety trends, that have forced us to make this decision now in fairness to our players, suppliers and partners, so that they can have certainty around their planning.
“We are very disappointed that we could not provide players this competitive opportunity and tennis fans around the world their first chance to once again experience the thrills of watching an ATP Tournament. Sports play a very important role in uniting our communities, inspiring our youth, stimulating our economies and providing joy to fans around the world and we look forward to bringing that back to the world next year.”
Nick Kyrgios, champion of last year's Citi Open. (Getty Images)
The Citi Open was due to start August 14, and was the only event scheduled for its respective week on the ATP's revised calendar. Washington, D.C. typically hosts a WTA International-level tournament as well, but previously agreed with WTA and Octagon to permit its relocation to Lexington, K.Y. for 2020 only. Grand Slam champions Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Sloane Stephens have since been confirmed for the inaugural Top Seed Open, which begins August 10.
The Western & Southern Open, moved from Cincinnati as part of a Flushing Meadows doubleheader leading into the US Open, will now serve as the ATP’s new starting point. The WTA tour is scheduled to begin again on August 3 in Palermo, followed by events in Lexington and Prague.
In a statement, the USTA affirmed at the Citi Open's cancellation would not impact the status of the Western & Southern Open or US Open.
"This decision in no way impacts the US Open or the Western & Southern Open," read the statement. "The USTA will create a safe and controlled environment for players and everyone else involved in both tournaments that mitigates health risks that was approved by the State of New York and also conforms to the standards put forth by New York City and the federal government.
"We constantly base our decision regarding hosting these tournaments on our three guiding principles that include safety and health of all involved, whether hosting these events are in the best interest in the sport of tennis and whether this decision is financially viable. We are confident we remain in-line with all three guiding principles."