(Reuters) – The two main tennis tours on Friday, July 24, 2020, cancelled all of their remaining tournaments in China for this year, including the flagship Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals, in the wake of the country’s ban on international sporting events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The General Administration of Sport, China’s highest sporting the body announced two weeks ago that only trial events for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics would be held in 2020.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and WTA had held out hope of getting exemptions for their events as they tried to play as many tournaments as possible in an already heavily disrupted season but released statements conceding defeat within minutes of each other.
The WTA had seven tournaments in China in its provisional calendar for the remainder of 2020, including the season-ending WTA Finals. The Tour resumes on Aug. 3 after five months with the Palermo Open in Sicily.
The ATP has cancelled the Shanghai Masters, Asia’s only ATP Masters 1000 tournament, the China Open in Beijing, an ATP 500 event, as well as the Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships, ATP 250 events.
The $14 million WTA Finals, contested by the top eight singles players and eight doubles teams in the world, moved to Shenzhen last year after being held in Singapore since 2014.
China has managed to reduce the number of new COVID-19 cases since the peak of the outbreak in the country in February but has been cautious about resuming sporting events.
The top-flight soccer league season will start after a five-month delay during the weekend, while China’s top basketball league will allow some spectators to watch games in Shandong province from Sunday.
Shanghai is also scheduled to host an array of sporting events this, including a round of the Formula One world championship and golf’s WGC-HSBC Champions and Buick LPGA.
The Badminton World Federation has scheduled the China Open in Changzhou from Sept. 15-20 and a tournament in Fuzhou from Nov. 3-8.