While some major sports leagues are finally starting up their seasons again after the long break in play due to the pandemic, tennis fans will have to wait a while longer for the sport to return.
That’s after both the ATP and WTA decided to extend the suspension of play a couple more weeks until the end of July. The men’s and women’s tours were scheduled to resume on July 13 following their hiatus due to the pandemic.
“Due to continued uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, we regret to announce our decision to extend the suspension of the Tour,” said Andrea Gaudenzi, ATP Chairman. “Just like tennis fans, players and tournament hosts all over the world, we share in the disappointment the Tour continues to be affected in this way.
“We continue to assess all of our options in an effort to resume the Tour as soon as it is safe to do so, including the feasibility of rescheduling events later in the season. As ever, the health and well-being of the tennis community and wider public remains our top priority in every decision we make.”
ATP events in Hamburg, Bastad, Newport, Los Cabos, Gstaad, Umag, Atlanta and Kitzbühel will no longer take place as a result of this decision, while WTA’s events in Lausanne, Bucharest, and Jurmala are also officially off.
The ATP and WTA Tours have been suspended since March when the BNP Paribas Open was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Wimbledon and the entire British grass-court season has already been cancelled, but tournaments taking place from August 1, 2020 onwards are still expected to take place as scheduled. The US Open is scheduled for the end of August, with the French Open due in late September.
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal came out earlier this month expressing significant doubts that the 2020 season can resume after the pandemic. The Spaniard added that it would be best to just return in 2021.
“I would sign up right now just to being ready for 2021,” Nadal said. “I’m more concerned with the Australian Open than with what happens later this year. I think 2020 has been practically lost. I’m hopeful of being able to start next year.”
But just last week, Gaudenzi refused to rule out the Tour returning in 2020, saying it would be “unwise to call it quits now.”
While extending the suspension is a setback, there’s still time for the ATP and WTA to hold their events — especially the two remaining Grand Slams — in the second half of the year.
If the Tour does get restarted and plays those Grand Slams, the ATP 2020 betting odds would no doubt have Novak Djokovic among the favourites for those tournaments.
Djokovic will certainly be ready to go as he has his sights set on breaking the record for the most Grand Slam titles and becoming the longest-reigning world No. 1 when he retires.
“I’m always very confident in myself,” Djokovic said in an interview on In Depth with Graham Bensinger. “I believe I can win the most slams and break the record for longest No 1. Those are definitely my clear goals.”
The Serb had made the most ATP 2020 highlights. Aside from winning this year’s Australian Open — the 17th of his career — he had also won the ATP Cup as well as the Dubai Tennis Championships, where he defeated rising star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
Djokovic is two Grand Slams behind rival Rafael Nadal and three behind all-time leader Roger Federer, who has 20.
Federer also holds the record for total weeks at No. 1 with 310; Djokovic is at 282, but while he’s currently at No. 1, his total is not adding up while the Tour is on pause.
The 32-year-old Djokovic still has a lot of time to catch up to Federer, especially since he can see himself playing until he’s 40.
“I don’t believe in limits. I think limits are only illusions of your ego or your mind,” he said.
But as Djokovic’s wife Jelena revealed, the world No. 1 was ready to quit the sport altogether just two years ago after a long-term elbow injury which eventually resulted in surgery.
However, Djokovic changed his mind after returning from a holiday, a decision that many SBOBET ATP fans loved. And if Djokovic has his way and plays until he’s 40, tennis fans will get to see a lot more of him in the future.
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