WTA Finals Among 11 Chinese Events Axed In Huge Blow To The Return Of Tennis - UBITENNIS
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WTA Finals Among 11 Chinese Events Axed In Huge Blow To The Return Of Tennis

The entire Asian swing has been thrown into doubt following the latest announcement.

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Following recent speculation it has been confirmed that all Tour tournaments set to take place in China later this year have been cancelled.

 

The ATP and WTA both issued statements on Friday confirming the decision following a recent ruling that has been set out by the country’s top sporting body. China’s General Administration of Sport (GAS) has recommended that no international sporting events take place in 2020 unless they are related to Olympic qualification. Furthermore, this week the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports issued an updated notice saying low risk areas are allowed to have up to 500 people attend sporting events. Although it ruled out the prospect of international competition.

Seven out of the 11 events that have been scrapped are on the WTA Tour in what is a huge blow to women’s tennis. In recent years China has grown into a significant country of revenue and income for both the organisation and players. The 2019 China swing offered an estimated $30 million in prize money.

The usual season-ending WTA Finals had been due to take place in Shenzhen, which last year offered a record prize money pool of $14 million. Due to the latest development, the event is on the verge of not taking place this season for the first time since it was founded in 1972.

“We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” stated Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO. “Unfortunately, this decision also includes the cancellation of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and as result, the corresponding Porsche Race to Shenzhen. We do however respect the decision that has been made and are eager to return to China as soon as possible next season.”

WTA China events scrapped
– Week of Oct. 12 – China Open (Beijing)
– Week of Oct. 19 – Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open
– Week of Oct. 19 – Jiangxi Open (Nanchang)
– Week of Oct. 26 – Zhengzhou Open
– Week of Nov. 9 – Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen
– Week of Nov. 16 – Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai
– Week of Nov. 23 – Guangzhou Open

The New York Times has also reported another consequence of not staging the premier event. It is possible that the development could also cost the WTA it’s rights fee for the event which is said to be more than $14 M. Although the exact value isn’t publicly disclosed.

“We would like to acknowledge the significant efforts made by our tournaments in the region throughout this process along with the Chinese Tennis Association for their dedication and commitment to the WTA,” Simona said. “We share in the disappointment of many around the world who were looking forward to this swing and appreciate all of the continued support from our fans, partners and the entire region, as we continue to navigate the remainder of the 2020 season.”

On the ATP Tour, the most significant impact of the ruling is that there will be no Shanghai Masters event. Which is the most prestigious men’s event to take place in the entire Asian continent. Last year the tournament offered more than $8 million in prize money.

The other events that have been cancelled are the China Open in Beijing (ATP 500), Chengdu Open (ATP 250) and Zhuhai Championships (ATP 250).

“Our approach throughout this pandemic has been to always follow local guidance when staging events. We respect the Chinese government’s decision to do what’s best for the country in response to the unprecedented global situation,” ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said in a statement. “It’s with a heavy heart that we announce ATP tournaments will not be played in China this year. These important events have been a cornerstone of the Tour’s presence in Asia and I want to thank the organizers for their commitment and cooperation. Chinese fans are some of the most passionate in the world and I know players will be looking forward to the next opportunity to play in front of them.”

Unlike the WTA, the ATP hadn’t listed any Asian tournaments in their revised calendar. At present the schedule only goes up until the French Open but a further update is expected to be made within the next two weeks. As for the women, three events have so far been given the green light to take place after Paris. They are in Seoul, Linz and Moscow.

The WTA Tour is set to resume on August 3rd in Palermo and ATP Tour will start on August 22nd in New York.

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‘My Body Is Not Use To Playing At 2am’ – Kristyna Pliskova Stuns Sakkari In Late-Night Palermo Duel

The Czech player has caused the biggest upset of the draw so far.

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Kristyna Pliskova has started her return to professional tennis following the five-month break by recording one of the biggest wins over her career at the Palermo Open.

 

The Czech tennis player held her nerve to knockout world No.20 and third seed Maria Sakkari 6-4, 6-4, in a late-night encounter. The first day of the WTA event saw a series of matches go the full distance, leading to Pliskova’s opening match taking place in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Despite the later than expected encounter, a sleepy Pliskova still managed to come out on top to record only her seventh win over a top 20 player and second this year. She also beat Aryna Sabalenka at the Shenzhen Open in January. During her latest match, the Czech stood firmly behind her serve as she won 80% of her first service points and saved all three break points she faced. Overall, she won 69 points in the match compared to Sakarri’s 60.

“The conditions were really tough,” wtatennis.com quoted Pliskova as saying. “Before the match, I was also sleeping a little bit! We stayed so late here, I think it’s tough for [Sakkari] as well.”
“The body is not used to playing at 2:00 a.m.,”
she added.

Pliskova broke Sakkari twice in the match by doing so at the start of each set. The triumph avenges her loss to the Greek in their previous meeting that took place at the 2017 Wimbledon championships. On that occasion Sakkari fought back from a set down to win.

Former Wimbledon girls champion Pliskova is seeking her first WTA title in almost four years this week in Palermo. Her next opponent will be Italian veteran Sara Errani, who required almost three hours to oust Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 1-6, 6-4, in a roller-coaster encounter.

“[Errani is] at home here, so for sure the people will cheer for her,” Pliskova commented on her next test. “She had quite a tough match, I saw. It’s very different from today, but I will try to hold my serve and hopefully I will also break her!”

Pliskova is currently ranked 69th in the WTA rankings.

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Fabio Fognini is planning to return in Kitzbuhel

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Fabio Fognini is currently training in Puglia to prepare his return to the ATP Tour in Kitzbuhel next September after undergoing ankle surgery two months ago. His coach Corrado Barazzutti confirmed that Fognini will not play in the Cincinnati Masters 1000 tournament and at the US Open. 

 

Fabio knows what he has to do to recover from the injury and is working very hard. He trains every day from 10 to 14.30. I am happy with his committment and his hard work”, said Barazzutti, who is also the Italian Davis Cup captain. 

“I think that Fabio will be ready in two weeks. We will work for four weeks in Rome to prepare for Kitzbuhel, which will mark his come-back. If everything goes to plan, Fabio will play there. We are confident because his preparation is going well well”. 

Fognini is spending his time with his wife Flavia Pennetta and his children Federico and Farah. “I think that spending with his family will be very positive for Fabio. They give him the strength to overcome the recovery from injury. Living with injuries is normal for all athletes, but it is not very easy. He is now more relaxed”, concluded Barazzutti

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REPORT: Madrid Open To Be Axed Amid COVID-19 Concerns In Latest Setback For Tennis

Hopes of Spain holding their top tennis event in 2020 are over.

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The world of tennis is set to suffer another severe blow with multiple media sources confirming that organisers of Spain’s most prestigious tennis tournament will officially cancel their event on Tuesday. 

 

The Mutua Madrid Open will be removed from the 2020 calendar following a meeting involving tournament owner Iron Tiriac. Recently doubts have been cast on the event after local health officials called for it to be suspended due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Although the final decision was up to Tiriac and his team. It had been due to take place between September 12 to 20, following the conclusion of the US Open. 

“We have to be realistic now, we have to accept that health is always the priority. We must not endanger anyone, neither the fans, nor the players, nor the staff, all those who come to Madrid in September,” tournament director Feliciano Lopez told L’Equipe over the weekend. 

Spain has seen their rate of COVID-19 cases rapidly rise since the country ended its lockdown. According to El Pais, the number of cases recorded within 24 hours is eight times the amount compared to 40 days ago. Rising from 334 (June 20) to 2,789 (between July 29 and 30). On Friday July 31st there were 3092 new cases in the country in what is a post-lockdown record.

Held at the Caja Magica, the Madrid Open is a key event for both men and women. It is currently classed as a Masters 1000 for the men and as a Premier Mandatory for the women. Last year each of the singles champions took home €1,202,520 in prize money. It was originally set to be played in May but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The demise of Madrid this year is another setback for what is becoming a rapidly thinning 2020 tennis calendar. Within the past two weeks China has confirmed that they will not be hosting any tournaments this year, Japan’s scrapped it’s premier women’s event and the Italian Open has been advised to not allow any fans to their event this year. 

As a result of the latest development, only two WTA clay-court events will take place after the US Open leading up to Roland Garros. They are both set to get underway on September 21st in Rome and Strasbourg. As for the men, Rome will be their only point of call. 

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