Saturday, April 25, 2020

More Summer ATP Challenger Cancellations Announced; USTA's Midwest and Intermountain June Sectionals Off; Robin Montgomery Interviewed by ITF

I hope the ATP, WTA, ITF and national federations are communicating better with their players than they are with the media and fans, because my attempts to find out what tournaments have been canceled past the July 12th date they jointly announced earlier has been a frustrating one.

Here's what I've learned by checking the various websites. There is no longer any ATP Challenger tour calendar past June, while the the WTA has one tournament in Sweden in early July still on the schedule. The ATP calendar notes the suspension of its tournaments through July 12, with the rest still showing, although I believe, due to a national decree in Germany, that the Hamburg event can not be played before September (it's currently listed as July 13). The Olympics, canceled some time ago, also are still showing on the ATP calendar. The USTA no longer has any calendar available on its Pro Circuit page.

The ITF has been updating its calendar through August, but it might not be entirely reliable, as it has a women's event in Germany still on the schedule in July, as is an event in Canada that has been canceled. This article mentions the cancellation of a men's Challenger in Germany in August.

In the United States, several Challengers scheduled after the July 12th date have been canceled: Winnetka's 80, the 80 at Binghamton, which pulled the plug several weeks ago, both in July, and the 100 in Tiburon California the last week of September.

Tennis Canada announced this week that it was canceling the Winnipeg Challenger in July, the women's $25K in Saskatoon in July and the big $100K combined event in Vancouver, scheduled for late August. Earlier Tennis Canada has also canceled its National Junior Championships, the Granby Challenger, and the WTA Rogers Cup for 2020.

I had not heard that any other ITF events in the United States had been canceled after July 13th, but in this Tennis.com article today, Tim Mayotte says both the women's $60Ks in Massachusetts in late July are off. They are both still appearing on the ITF women's schedule.

While most of these cancellations appear to be the result of local/provincial/federal government decisions, there is a possibility that sponsors are no longer available given the economic impact of the pandemic. But in last week's conference call, USTA Executive Director Michael Dowse said "We've made a commitment to continue to fund the challenger series and ITF related tournaments when those come back online. That's an investment in the neighborhood of $7.5 million." So perhaps the financial backing is not the problem.

Anyway, if you've heard of any USTA Pro Circuit, ITF or Challenger  tournaments that have been postponed or canceled that I have not mentioned here, please leave a comment.

I've been attempting to track the status of the USTA Sectional tournaments, the most important events of the year in each section for qualification for the Clay Courts and the Nationals, and so far three sections have made decisions. As I mentioned Thursday, Northern California has canceled all USTA events prior to August 1. The Intermountain section canceled its sectional yesterday, and the Midwest section said it was postponing its June event, with a new date scheduled to be named on May 15.

The ITF spoke recently with Orange Bowl champion Robin Montgomery about what she's doing during this unexpected break in tennis. The Q and A is here.


Jon King said...

I think competitive tennis will restart from the local junior events then spread up. Local junior events only have a parent or coach watching so distancing for spectators is possible. Guide lines to insure safety are much easier at that level. Players can each have their own numbered balls and use their foot to return them down the sidelines when needed. Pro events and higher level juniors with very few spectators could be done next once more testing is available. Large venues and many spectators will have to wait for a vaccine.

Tolerant in California said...

The Tiburon Challenger in Marin County North of SF is cancelled because of Covid, it was scheduled for Sept 28. This is one of the favorite tournaments on challenger schedule with great weather and fall is amazing time of year in Bay Area (when no wild fires).