There will be no Women’s Tennis Organization tournaments in China for the remainder of the year. The WTA canceled all events scheduled to take place in the country on Thursday. The decision is a result of China’s General Administration of Sport’s ruling that the country may not host any international sporting events in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In complete, seven WTA events have been canceled:
Week of Oct. 12 – China Open (Beijing)Week of Oct. 19 – Dongfeng Motor Wuhan OpenWeek of Oct. 19 – Jiangxi Open (Nanchang)Week of Oct. 26 – Zhengzhou OpenWeek of Nov. 9 – Shiseido WTA Finals ShenzhenWeek of Nov. 16 – Hengqin Life WTA Elite Trophy ZhuhaiWeek of Nov. 23 – Guangzhou Open
As The New York Times points out, these cancellations are a big hit to the WTA because the WTA Finals in Shenzhen is among the league’s most lucrative events. The country has “hastily turn into one the tour’s major markets and a key source of revenue,” the Times reported.
Here is a look at the new WTA schedule, with the season set to begin on Aug. 3:
“We are extremely disappointed that our world-class events in China will not take place this year,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a press release. “Unfortunately, this decision also includes the cancellation of the Shiseido WTA Finals Shenzhen and as result, the corresponding Porsche Race to Shenzhen. We do alternatively respect the decision that has been made and are keen to go back to China as soon as imaginable next season.
“We want to acknowledge the remarkable efforts made by our tournaments in the region right through this process at the side of the Chinese Tennis Organization for their dedication and commitment to the WTA. We share in the disappointment of many around the globe who were taking a look forward to this swing and appreciate all the continued enhance from our fans, partners and all the region, as we continue to navigate the rest of the 2020 season.”
The release also states that the WTA is “dedicated to moving forward with the return to play plan which provides for operating as many tournaments.”