Tennis

Tennis Canada remains 'hopeful' Rogers Cup will be contested in August

Tennis Canada remains "optimistic" the Rogers Cup will be played this summer as scheduled following comments from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley on Tuesday that the season could be lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Australian exec believes entire season could be lost due to coronavirus pandemic

Tennis Canada is "optimistic" the Rogers Cup tennis tournament will go ahead as planned in August in Toronto and Montreal, even though all WTA and ATP tourneys have been suspended until June 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images/File)

Tennis Canada remains "optimistic" the Rogers Cup will be played as scheduled following comments from Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley on Tuesday that the season could be lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The women's tourney is slated for Aug. 7-16 in Montreal and the men's event Aug. 8-16 in Toronto.

The men's ATP Tour and the WTA, which runs the women's circuit, have suspended all tournaments until June 7 after countries started locking down borders to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"For the most part, all summer hard-court tournaments, including our events in Toronto and Montreal and culminating with the U.S. Open (in New York) are hopeful we can get tournaments in this year," Gavin Ziv, managing director of Rogers Cup in Toronto, told CBC Sports.

"This will be taken out of our hands at some point. Community safety is paramount and you have to make sure you're ready to run your big sporting events … when it's safe for everyone to be there."

The tennis season screeched to a halt in early March due to the respiratory illness, which has infected almost 800,000 in the world while killing over 38,500 since emerging in China late last year.

"My personal view is I think for tennis to come back this year is going to be tough," Tiley told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Limited weeks to play in hard-court season

"It relies on global travel, and I think that's probably the last thing that's going to come back. I think sports that have a domestic focus are in a strong position and sports that have a global focus are more challenged."

The Rogers Cup, which was founded in 1881 as the Canadian National Championships, has operated each year without postponement or cancellation in the Open Era since 1968 and is the third oldest tournament in the world behind Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

Ziv remains in constant communication with the ATP and WTA Tours, which have explored different models of whether tournaments can be delayed or postponed by a week or more.

"Once you get into the hard-court (outdoor) season," he said, "you only have a limited number of weeks you can go into the fall until you get weather where it probably wouldn't be conducive to running tennis tournaments."

Wimbledon organizers will announce the cancellation of this year's grass-court Grand Slam this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday. Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley wonders if the rest of the season is in jeopardy because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images/File)

The Australian Open, which started in January, has so far been the only Grand Slam that was not impacted in 2020 with the French Open organizers moving the clay-court major back to September from its May start.

Wimbledon organizers will announce the cancellation of the grass-court Grand Slam this week, according to German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff.

Tiley said TA was planning to run next year's Australian Open on schedule.

Path to vaccine 'not likely' in short term

"We've got to plan for the worst and hope for the best," he said.

"Tomorrow morning we wake up and there is some miracle cure or some concoction of drugs that really helps, or they're on a path to a vaccine. (But) from all the literature you read, it doesn't seem likely in the immediate future.

"(When) you can travel globally is when tennis can come back, from a pro level. From a local level, we can start right away and that's what we would be focused on at the beginning."

Ziv said the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics, which were scheduled to run July 24-Aug. 9, would open the possibility for a tournament or more across the world to fill those dates on the tennis calendar.

"Everyone's trying to find solutions in how to get something done this year," Ziv said. "Maybe more tournaments are lumped together in different regions at the same time to offer more flexibility with travel.

"It's been so unfortunate to have these events delayed and postponed. It's such a big part of people's lives and when you don't get to do what you love and showcase this great sport to the world, it can be pretty tough and demoralizing."

New French Open date clashes with Laver Cup

The French Tennis Federation came under heavy criticism from tennis players around the world at the lack of communication as the new dates clashed with several other events already featuring on the calendar.

The new French Open dates mean the clay-court major will start at Roland Garros a week after the conclusion of the U.S. Open on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows in New York.

It also clashes with the Sept. 25-27 Laver Cup, a team event co-created by Roger Federer and sanctioned by the ATP.

TA is a stakeholder of the Laver Cup along with U.S. Open organizers United States Tennis Association.

Tiley said "deep conversations" were underway to resolve the scheduling dispute.

With files from Reuters

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